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Posted February 8, 2005 

Aspen Education Group's Academy at Swift River Featured in New Book by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist David L. Marcus
"What it Takes to Pull Me Through" Gives Parents Insights into Therapeutic Education Programs for Struggling and Under-Achieving Teens

Lisa Freeman
Aspen Education Group

(CERRITOS, CA January 27, 2005) Why do some kids get into so much trouble even as their friends and siblings thrive? How can families get involved earlier, before problems escalate? What lessons can parents, teachers, therapists, education leaders and lawmakers learn about today's teen culture, temptations and problems from a school that caters to "kids on the brink?"

These questions and more were explored by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David L. Marcus during his 14-month visit at the Academy at Swift River, a Massachusetts-based college preparatory therapeutic boarding school of Aspen Education Group. The answers to these questions are revealed in his newly released book, What it Takes to Pull Me Through - Why Teenagers Get in Trouble and How Four of Them Got Out. Here, Marcus offers a detailed, uncompromising look inside the secret world of American teenagers in the 21st century - a world of proliferating pressures, increasing drug use and skyrocketing suicide rates.

At the Academy at Swift River, Marcus was given unfettered access to students, staff and parents. Known for fostering academic excellence, individual responsibility, healthy self expression and service to others through an intensive 14-month program, the Academy at Swift River helps struggling teenagers regain their confidence and emotional and physical health while providing them the personal tools to set themselves on a positive path for their futures.

"Aspen Education Group was extremely honored to have one of our programs profiled in an insightful way by such an esteemed journalist," said Elliot Sainer, chief executive officer of Aspen Education Group. "Today's kids are struggling to make the right choices in a societal pressure cooker that pushes drugs, alcohol, sex and other temptations on them at an amazing rate and at a surprisingly early age," said Sainer. "A growing number of kids cannot cope with these pressures and need the help of therapeutic programs like the Academy at Swift River that strip away these influences and help students get back in touch with their true selves."

At Academy at Swift River, Marcus joined the students for classes, group therapy and workshops on anger management; he visited their homes, high schools and hangouts; and he attended parenting seminars with their moms and dads. As a result, he offers readers the perspectives of both the kids and parents. He explores the difficult choices parents made to "rescue" their kids; and he examines what teachers, counselors and a dedicated Swift River staff did to get these kids' lives back on track.

What it Takes to Pull Me Through, published by Houghton Mifflin, has been praised by authors, psychologists and teachers. Daniel Kindlon, professor of psychology at the Harvard School of Public Health, says it "shows just how thin the line is between the worlds of normal adolescents and those who are fighting for their emotional health." Marcus's book has been featured on NBC's "Today" show and National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" and will be featured soon in Parade Magazine, USA Today and U.S. News & World Report. For more information on the book, visit

The Academy at Swift River is a college preparatory therapeutic boarding school for adolescents in grades 9 through 12 who are experiencing emotional, behavioral or academic difficulties. The program provides a strong academic environment carefully integrated with counseling and personal enrichment challenges. Residents participate in a 14-month, goal-oriented program, set on a 630-acre campus in rural Massachusetts. For information, visit, or call 800 258-1770.

Aspen Education Group offers a diverse range of educational programs, settings and solutions that improve the quality of life for under-achieving adolescents and their families. Through Aspen's 30 residential and outdoor programs in 11 states, parents can choose from a variety of therapeutic and academic environments. Students in Aspen's programs benefit from two decades of experience helping tens of thousands of youths.

For the past two years, Aspen Education Group was named among the top 100 education companies by Eduventures, a leading independent research firm dedicated to learning markets. For more information, visit, or call 888 972-7736.

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