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Posted December 6, 2004 

To Whom it may concern:

My name is Shirley Nelson. My Husband and I have struggled for years to try to get my daughter's life on track. Diagnosed with ADD and LD, her life was made of recurring failures - at school, socially, and she was
tantruming, uncooperative, inert, depressed and often ill at home.

Despite tutoring, counseling, prescription drugs, and acupuncture, we couldn't get her life to work at all. Living with her was so hopeless, hard and exhausting, I thought that it just might kill me. Just before
we sent her to the Whitmore, she was making cuts on her arms in order to try to feel better. In June of 2004, XXXXX was 16, and we sent her to the Whitmore Academy after a visit that cemented the feeling that it was a wonderful place where she could have a fabulous time. We visited her for the first time in August, after just 2 months, and we couldn't believe the changes in her. She was happy, healthy, confident, resilient, diligently helpful, with brilliant communication skills, and zest for life. Her emotional growth was extraordinary. She had seemed to be stuck in a 5 year old's mental state, and suddenly she was behaving like a powerful and constructive adult.

We brought our whole family for that visit and we had a very good time. Mark and Cheryl are incredibly skillful at "parenting" struggling teens. At no time did we get the feeling that anything was amiss about them or their program. We had alone time with our daughter where we specifically asked about how everything was run. It seemed like it was just what teenagers need - tough love - strict, but not abusive consequences and lots of love and good attention pouring in.

The adventure and social aspects of the school really draw the teenagers into a wonderful present time experience. In fact, my 9 year old daughter was so impressed by their program that she insists on going to the Whitmore when she comes of age, even though she seems to be as close as you can get to a perfect child and is attending a wonderful school. She says that her 3 favorite places to be are the Builtmore Estate, skiing in the mountains, and the Whitmore Academy.

XXXXX recently came to visit us for Thanksgiving and seems in love with being at the Whitmore. She will stay to finish her schooling there because she loves it so much and it is soooo good for her. XXXXX and our whole family are not Mormons and though Mormonism is around XXXXX, it is not forced upon her. Mark and Cheryl are very powerful and very loving people who deserve a gold medal for their service to the world. It is phenomenal work they are doing. Through their work, broken people are recreated and are able to reclaim their right to some heaven on earth and to stand strongly beside others as solid citizens. XXXXX feels very well loved there - she has said a number of times, "Cheryl loves us all so much." There is no doubt in my mind with regards to the deep goodness of these people and their program.


Shirley Nelson
Chapel Hill, NC

Copyright © 2004, Woodbury Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(This article may not be reproduced without written approval of the publisher.)

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