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New Perspectives - Jun, 1999 Issue #58 

Heartlight Ministries
Jan Gregston, Admissions
Hallsville, Texas

Heartlight is a Christian oriented residential program with the purpose of providing a “residential counseling setting for adolescents of families caught in crisis situations.” Founded in 1988, they provide a structured environment for up to 34 struggling boys and girls ages 12 to 17 when their “behavior is deteriorating and removal from the home is necessary to resolve issues,” and the indications are the child can be better served by placement someplace other than a juvenile justice facility or a residential treatment center. 

Their philosophy entails a “Biblical counseling approach with each child involved in activities that support the individual and group counseling…. Our approach is through the medium of relationships, whereby a life-on-life experience with staff, residents, and other families provides an ‘arena’ of change, a chance to gain wisdom and support and encouragement through difficult times.” Located on 80 acres, with staff hiring emphasizing young “athletic college graduates who have displayed a keen sense of responsibility….All the activities and scheduled events revolve around the need for the staff to develop deeper relationships with each resident while providing healthy, challenging, fun opportunities for the building of self-esteem. Heartlight’s outdoor activities include horse- riding, water-skiing, wakeboarding, rapelling and rock climbing, fishing, skeet shooting, tennis, basketball, and bicycling. Indoor activities include photography, racquetball, crafts, billiards, guitar lessons, and art work. Church attendance with staff is required, and Bible Studies are offered.”

“Each resident meets weekly with a designated counselor who utilizes the Biblical Model of Counseling. Residents are also involved in two weekly group therapy meetings. Each Heartlight counselor becomes intricately involved in the life of the young people they counsel, as well as with the families of the residents, and becomes the ‘point of contact’ for each family. This total counseling perspective ensures not only a changed person, but also a changed environment upon the young person’s return home.”

Family retreats and Parent retreats are held throughout the year. Most residents attend the local public school, but those needing a more structured academic setting have available on-site schooling. They are members of the National Association of Christian Child and Family Agencies (NACCFA). 

Copyright © 1999, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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