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Posted April 7, 2004 

April 5, 2004

Mike Merchant
ANASAZI Foundation
Office 480 892-7403
Cell 602 763-7993

Robert Weimer
Three Rivers Wilderness Programs
Office 949 250-9331
Cell 949 795-1309


ANASAZI Foundation, Three Rivers Wilderness Programs, and the Lee Pesky Learning Center announced today their collective intent to open The Jackie Weimer School, a non-profit residential school, near Bozeman, Montana serving young men with behavioral problems and learning disabilities.

"Learning differences can often be the root cause of behavioral issues in adolescents," says Mike Merchant, President of ANASAZI Foundation, a nationally accredited outdoor behavioral healthcare (OBH) provider serving youth with drug and alcohol abuse problems, oppositional behavior, school failure, severe family conflict, depression, and attachment issues. "Too often, learning differences go undiagnosed and untreated, thus, making it nearly impossible to effectively address behavioral issues."

According to Merchant, "Youth with learning differences and behavioral problems function well in long-term (45 to 60 day) outdoor therapy programs. However, without effective interventions and continued care to help them transition back into their homes, schools, and communities, the ability to sustain changes is minimized." Understanding this need for continued care after a wilderness therapy program, ANASAZI Foundation, Three Rivers Wilderness Programs, and the Lee Pesky Learning Center have formed a strategic alliance to open the Jackie Weimer School near Bozeman, Montana.

The programs offered at the Jackie Weimer School and at Three Rivers Wilderness Programs will be philosophically and therapeutically consistent with The ANASAZI Way-a proven and effective approach developed by ANASAZI Foundation that builds on individual and family strengths and focuses on facilitating a change of heart as well as a change of behavior. "ANASAZI Foundation has been successfully helping families for more than 15 years," states Robert Weimer, a Three Rivers co-founder. "The level of training and quality of care provided by ANASAZI is a standard in the industry."

The Jackie Weimer School will utilize a tutorial model. Treatment and education will be individualized. Prior to entering the school, youth will participate in a wilderness therapy program and receive testing and evaluations. "We have found that the most accurate diagnosis is made after several weeks in the wilderness," states Marylis Filipovich, LCSW, Executive Director of Three Rivers Wilderness Programs.

Scheduled to open in the fall of 2004, the campus for Jackie Weimer School is located on 60 acres near Bozeman, Montana. The 60 acres was developed as a residential high school and made available to ANASAZI Foundation by Florida philanthropist, Ron Woods. "The opening date is contingent upon completing funding objectives," says ANASAZI President Mike Merchant. "For those who are looking to make a difference in this world, this is a worthy cause with a tremendous social benefit."

ANASAZI Foundation is actively soliciting contributions for working capital. To date, they have received financial support from friends of the Weimer Family, ANASAZI Foundation, and Forever Young Foundation.

The Lee Pesky Learning Center is a non-profit, educational organization specializing in helping individuals with learning disabilities. Its philosophy is that all people can be taught how to learn and deserve to reach their fullest potential in reading, writing and math. Based in Boise, Idaho, the Center opened in 1997 to celebrate the life and accomplishments of the late Lee David Pesky and to offer children and adults opportunities similar to those that helped Lee successfully overcome his learning disabilities. The Center will provide diagnostic tools and assessments and literacy education to therapists, teachers, and behavioral health technicians at ANASAZI, Three Rivers Montana, and the Jackie Weimer School.

ANASAZI Foundation founded in 1988 by Larry D. Olsen and Ezekiel C. Sanchez, utilizes a sound clinical model, nurturing approach, and the outdoors as a treatment milieu for youth 12-17 and young adults 18-25 with substance abuse as well as emotional and behavioral concerns. Headquartered in Mesa, Arizona, the mission of ANASAZI Foundation is to prepare parents and children to turn their hearts to one another and walk in harmony in the wilderness of the world.

Three Rivers Wilderness Programs is a wilderness therapy program headquartered near Bozeman, Montana. Three Rivers specializes in treating children with behavioral problems, learning differences, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. The behavioral problems can include drug and alcohol abuse, oppositional behavior, school failure, severe family conflict and depression. Three Rivers utilizes The ANASAZI Way-a proven clinical model developed by the ANASAZI Foundation. It serves youth aged 13 to 17.

The Jackie Weimer School will meet all state and local licensing requirements. In addition, it will operate under the same accreditation standards as ANASAZI Foundation. ANASAZI Foundation is Nationally Accredited through the Council on Accreditation and is currently in review for JCAHO Accreditation. The educational curriculum will be accredited through the North Central Association.

The school is named for Jackie Weimer, a former wilderness instructor for AYA in Colorado and Montana. Jackie died in a climbing accident in the spring of 2003. "Jackie's dream was to provide a school that would serve the specific needs of youth who have participated in wilderness programs-a school that would honor, develop, and build on their accomplishments in the wilderness," says Three Rivers co-founder Bob Weimer, Jackie's father.

To make a contribution or to obtain additional information, please contact Mike Merchant at ANASAZI Foundation 800-678-3445.

PO Box 1671 | Bonners Ferry, ID 83805 | 208-267-5550
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