Letter To Editor
As parent of a son who attended Alldredge Academy, I wish to share these observations with other parents looking for the appropriate program for their son or daughter.
Alldredge Academy enabled my son to turn his life around. He was profoundly influenced by the compassion of the staff, the creative program design, and the overall philosophy. The family program was powerful not only for my son but also for each member of our family as we all came to understand the need for personal growth and change.
After five months at Alldredge at age 17, my son moved on to complete high school in New Hampshire where he earned all A's the last semester of his senior year. He continues his passion for kayaking (the influence of Alldredge), he is taking care of himself physically, and he is working full-time for an outdoor outfitter. He communicates with me honestly and openly and is well on his way now to living independently. He plans to enter college after a year of full time work. His long-range goal is to become an instructor in a wilderness therapy program like Alldredge! He is setting and achieving realistic goals, living by positive values, and making good friends. There is no question that the foundation for this dramatic shift was laid at Alldredge.
As the former executive director of the North Carolina Outward Bound School (1977 - 94), I am familiar with a wide range of wilderness programs for struggling teens. Having visited Alldredge Academy approximately six times in the last three years, I can vouch for the safety, integrity, and exceptional creativity of this program. The wilderness and village phases are designed to tap deep into the hearts and souls of the students. This program does not skim the surface; it goes deep and it challenges students to see themselves clearly, to make changes, to embrace positive values, and to catch a vision of what they can become. For my son - and for many others - the Alldredge experience has evolved into an authentic transformation.
Programs across the country are addressing the needs of struggling teens in a variety of formats, and many of them have a positive impact through behavior modification program designs. By contrast, Alldredge aims for a genuine change of heart. It is a profoundly spiritual approach in which students truly experience "the love that heals".
All schools working with struggling teens face challenges and the occasional crisis. Alldredge staff have moved through their own crisis in the past three years - and the program today is stronger than ever. I know all of the staff personally. These are people of integrity who are deeply committed to help young people find the path to a healthy and fulfilling life. I am forever grateful.
I welcome dialog with anyone who is interested to know more about Alldredge from this grateful parent.
Mortanton, North Carolina