To Whom It May Concern:
Because our family is new to the Whitmore Academy
and our son has only been enrolled in the program since November
19th, we were very disturbed and taken aback to receive a
call on November from Utah's Department of Child Protective
Services last week. At the time, the caller informed my husband
that children at The Whitmore, including our son, XXXXX, were
being questioned regarding potential abuse there, but they
were completely unwilling to provide any information regarding
the alleged abuse or situation at hand. Distressed, we immediately
contacted Mark and Cheryl Sudweeks, who assured us that our
son was fine and explained to us that the situation had ensued
from allegations made by XXXXX, a relatively new student/resident.
Because they were driving a bus to Salt Lake City taking all
of the kids to the theater at the time of our call, Mark and
Cheryl were unable to expand much on the situation. We decided
to call some other parents who also had kids in the program,
and felt reassured that our son was in good hands. Soon thereafter,
Mark sent all of the parents a detailed accounting of what
had transpired and made himself available to answer our questions.
Despite the anxiety and aggravation caused by this situation,
my husband and I have made an informed and intuitive decision
to keep our son at The Whitmore. We continue to believe that
it is a safe, loving, and enriching environment.
We found out about The Whitmore from an organization called
Parents Universal Resource Experts PURE (www.helpyourteens.com).
The Whitmore Academy was one of three or four programs that
they recommended for our son. We were interested in alternative
education programs for mentally healthy children who were
not thriving in public schools. All of the parent references
we contacted had nothing but praise for Mark and Cheryl and
their program. We were impressed that some parents had even
opted to keep their children at the Whitmore even longer than
the required year because their kids were doing so great there.
In early November we decided to visit The Whitmore ourselves.
Having spent the better part of day talking to the Whitmore
staff and all of the kids, we decided to enroll our son there
a few weeks later. The children who are living at the Whitmore
see it as the “opportunity of a lifetime.” These kids shared
their hearts openly and honestly with us while we were there,
and helped us to understand the love, support, and guidance
that they receive from Mark, Cheryl and the other mentors
there. Again, since we are new Whitmore parents we cannot
speak first-hand to the specifics of how the program works,
but from what we have seen we believe that it does work. Never
did we get the impression that kids were being coerced to
sell us the program. They spoke privately and honestly about
their feelings, and meant what they said. We are excited that,
for one year, our son will have the opportunity to grow and
excel at The Whitmore, and we are grateful for the devotion
to our kids and the important and valuable work that is being
Tim & Jimena Ryan
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