abundant life academy
Background, and Survivor Statement(s)
HEAL SPECIAL REPORT:
ABUNDANT LIFE ACADEMY'S
ENROLLMENT AGREEMENT REVIEW
HEAL has found
multiple problems with Abundant Life Academy's enrollment
agreement including apparent unconscionable terms and
contradictory terms leaving us to believe that Abundant Life
Academy is running a money-making scam on families in need of
assistance. We will be alternating between purple
background and/or words for HEAL critiques and questions and
a light pink with red words
for the words of Abundant Life Academy in their
enrollment agreement (as was updated by Abundant Life
Academy on April 23rd, 2009). HEAL will not repeatedly
link to the enrollment agreement in full throughout this review,
and, we advise readers to scroll back and/or open the enrollment
agreement in a new window while reviewing our work for accuracy
or if additional contextualization is preferred. This is
an independent review and if you are in need of legal assistance
or advice, please
consult with an attorney.
Agreement (Page 1)
Faith Academy, Inc., dba Abundant Life Academy, Inc..."
"...for a period of not less then 9
months and not more then 18 months..."
"Leadership Training and accredited
long distance learning educational curriculum..."
"The parent full acknowledges and
realizes that the degree of the "Youth's" educational,
emotional, and spiritual and growth is not the responsibility of
"The "Youth's" participation is all
voluntary and by his/her choice."
"The main purpose of the Academy is
to provide..."mentoring" (Christian values training: teaching
the principles of Bible which include:..."learning the
principles of 'submission to parental authority'", and
development of character through training in "discipline, good
work ethics, respect towards authority...)"
"The Academy introduces controlled
and measured challenges to the Youth so as to help them learn to
serve the needs of others."
To listen to
audio of a lawsuit regarding abuses and removal of children from
Xtreme Faith Academy Inc./Abundant Life Academy,
here. This hearing was held on November 13th, 2009.
It states that the former judge's decision in the case was to
shut down Abundant Life Academy. HEAL wonders why Abundant
Life Academy is still open. It must be due to the nature
of Utah laws
that protect abusive programs at the expense of children's
welfare and lives.
3 of the agreement, the second statement above is contradicted.
It states that there are early graduations/completions and that
the above stated term of 9 months, stated firmly as a
requirement, is later shown to be not a true requirement of the
agreement or the program. These types of inconsistencies
go to the heart of the problem with these amateurish contracts
and programs. (See discussion of page 3 below.) In
addition, if this agreement were written by a professional,
he/she would likely have gotten the word "than" correct.
It is "less than" and "more than", not "less then" and "more
then". If this is the quality of language arts skills
exhibited by those in charge of the business end of Abundant
Life Academy, then it again suggests an environment not of a
quality to insure the appropriate education of children and
HEAL believes Abundant Life Academy
should clearly state what they mean by "Leadership Training" and
what methods are used to "train" children at their program.
What is Leadership Training? What are the methods used by
Abundant Life Academy?
Abundant Life Academy claims that
the Youth's participation is voluntary. But, again, on
page 3 of the agreement, it states that they will compel and/or
ask the parents to assist and support the compelling of the
Youth to participate fully in the program. The definition
according to Merriam-Webster, is:
1: to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly <hunger compelled him to eat>
2: to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure <public opinion compelled her to sign the bill>
Here again we have a serious
contradiction. And, most religions, including
Christianity, frown upon bearing false witness (lying) and
hypocrisy. (Jesus particularly dislikes/disliked hypocrites. A
Merriam-Webster's definition, is:
a person who acts in
contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.)
By repeatedly contradicting itself, Abundant Life Academy is
showing it's falsity as a Christian organization or program.
It is likely hiding behind religious freedom to avoid taxation
Academy claims to train children to be submissive to parental
authority. What about when parents sexually abuse their
children or abuse their power by neglecting or otherwise abusing
their children? Blind submission to parental or other
authority is exactly what years of child advocacy has tried to
stop. Blind submission to the whims of those in perceived
positions of authority put vulnerable children in harm's way.
Teaching reciprocity and give and take, treating others as you
would be treated and leading by example are Christian values.
Requiring nearly or over $50,000 (as this contract requires--to
be discussed in section covering page 5 of the agreement) and
denying any responsibility or liability for one's own actions
suggests the opposite of leading by example and a direct
opposition to Christian values.
this focus on service as opposed to community and reciprocity is
a serious concern. HEAL asks: What do you mean by
discipline? What do you mean by "good work ethic"? (For
example, do you mean to labor without consideration for the
value of your efforts and a willingness to be a virtual slave
with no desire for compensation for those efforts? Are you
suggesting that one's labor is only as valuable as those in an
authority position or an unequal or advantageous position
(generally achieved through unethical business practices
including long-term enslavement of large populations to build
said wealth that creates said advantageous position)? Do
you support slavery and/or believe laborers should be grateful
for their being useful to those with resources generally stolen
from those very laborers? And, do you believe that respect
to authority means never questioning authority? Do you
understand that historically and in modern times such blind
following of those claiming authority has resulted in severe
human rights abuses?
adults need to learn to be independent and self-sufficient.
Focusing their attention on the needs of others is irresponsible
to their natural stage of development and needs as they embark
on adulthood. Anyone with any training in child
development could tell you that focusing a child on service as
opposed to education and vocational training is
counter-productive and detrimental to their growth and potential
in modern business and society.
Agreement (Page 2)
Parent fully understands that the premise or philosophy of the
Academy is that the troubled teen is not "troubled", only that
he/she is essentially "spoiled" (a term meant to describe an
entitled teen who is emotionally immature with a sense of
"entitlement") because he/she has been given too many resources
(education, material wealth, etc.) ...Additionally, this Youth
is acting self-centered, thinking only of him/herself, and
refused to take responsibility for his/her self-centered
actions...Moreover, the Parent recognizes that the Youth is
acting irresponsibly...This Youth has not learned to persevere
through tough and difficult...situations."
"...this Youth has ventured away
from his/her Christian heritage and Christian values of his/her
upbringing and is adopting the values of the "Godless" culture
that has become predominate in the United States. This
Youth is also failing to invest him/herself for the future, acts
lazy, and may not be contributing to the high level of personal
wealth and comfort he/she enjoys through the provision of the
Parent...This Youth believes...his/her life should not be
controlled, monitored, or supervised by "Parents"."
"...the Youth is not currently able
to make decisions that are in the best interest of the Youth."
paragraph is extremely subjective and denies the reality that
holding children in a locked-down facility where they are
"compelled" to submit to the program or risk being shipped to a
likely abusive and/or deadly wilderness program/boot camp
followed by additional time at Abundant Life Academy (discussed
below under page 11), is arguably illegal and in violation of
the civil rights of the child. In
Rice et al v. Provo Canyon School, the court decided that it
was a violation of the children's constitutional liberty
interests to hold them against their will in a behavior
modification or any other setting without due process.
Parents would do well to remember that such a biased view of
children suggests a disdain for the charges left to the "care"
of Abundant Life Academy and that their children will not be
shown respect or consideration unless they "serve the needs" of
the program. This is a very dangerous attitude to instill
in any human being that respects Free Will and the US
in the second section quoted above we see an even greater
disdain for cultural diversity and religious freedom. HEAL
takes an ecumenical approach to faith and we respect all faiths.
Whether someone is Baptist or Buddhist, Mormon or Methodist,
Evangelical or Agnostic, or anything in-between or external, we
respect everyone's right to find their path to spiritual and/or
personal growth. Abundant Life's attack on America as
being predominantly "Godless" is insulting to the over 70%
Christian population of the United States as well as the other
faiths and beliefs held by Americans who share the belief that
America is a great country with a sound basis for recognizing
human and civil rights of all people. Railing against
America is unAmerican and denotes cult-like ulterior motives of
Also, this section implies that a
Youth's desire to not be controlled by his/her parents is
problematic. It is a very normal stage of human
development in the teen years to begin establishing personal
independence and autonomy. It is wrong of Abundant Life
Academy to imply that wanting more control over one's self in
the teen years is abnormal or a sign of "bad" behavior.
The last quote above is a concern
because Abundant Life claims that the program is "voluntary".
Again, we discussed how this is contradicted throughout the
contract and identifying someone as incompetent to make
decisions for themselves in a contract suggests that such
decision-making will be left to those in authority (i.e.
Abundant Life Academy staff) as opposed to the child. This
again shows the involuntary nature of the program and the
deception and hypocrisy used even in the enrollment agreement
Agreement (Page 3)
Parent acknowledges and declares that...the Youth is selfish,
self-centered, and unwilling to live up to their
academic/personal potential...the Academy purposely produces
controlled adversity training..."
"The Parent promises to support the
Academy in this endeavor. The Parent promises to refrain
from undermining the efforts of the Academy by promising to not
provide Youth with material resources or emotional support that
they have not earned. Additionally, the Parent promises to
support the Academy in its efforts to hold the student
accountable for his/her negative actions, and the Parents
promise to not "rescue" the Youth."
"The Academy offers no guarantee of
success and emphatically declares that any level of success of
the Youth completely falls upon the Youth's willingness to
learn...and the Parent's willingness to insist the Youth
finishes the entire program to full completion...participate of
Youth is voluntary, the Youth will be encouraged and compelled
by the Academy to fully participate and take full advantage of
the training offered by the Academy. The Academy fully
expects the Parents to support the Academy's efforts to compel
the Youth to fully participate in all program elements."
"The first trimester will be no shorter
then 3 months and one day...Youth will not progress from one
trimester to another trimester without fully completing the
prescribed curriculum identified in each trimester...The Parent
also acknowledges that from time-to-time (exceptional cases)
Youth will be able to complete all three trimesters in less then
statement above again denotes a disdain for the children being
enrolled in the Abundant Life Academy program. We think it
would be good for Abundant Life Academy to review the portions
of the Holy Bible referring to "judge not lest ye be judged",
"God is love", and the definition of love provided by the Holy
Here are some
pertinent passages suggested for review:
Matthew 7:1-3 (KJV) "Judge not that
ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye
shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be
measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote
that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that
is in thine own eye?"
1 John 4:8 (KJV) "He that loveth not
knoweth not God; for God is love."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) "Love is
patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not
rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or
it does not rejoice at
wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures
Now, the repeated judgments of
children unknown to Abundant Life Academy at the time of its
assumption of the "spoiled" nature of the children is both
hypocritical and in direct opposition to Christian values.
Further on in Corinthians Chapter 13, we find a focus on
charity. Charity is the nature of tolerance,
understanding, and forgiveness. The attitude portrayed by
Abundant Life Academy towards children in the program shows
nothing but judgment, arrogance, a focus on wrongdoing, and a
support of the resentment and irritability of the family that is
struggling as opposed to a Christian support of patience,
kindness, forgiveness, and humility. Further on in the
contract, Abundant Life Academy claims it uses "mainstream"
Christian values in its "Leadership Training". If
judgment, hate, and abuse are "mainstream" Christian values,
HEAL wants no part of it. We have faith that legitimate
persons of faith believe in truth and love, not hate and abuse
or hypocrisy and lies.
What does Abundant Life Academy mean
by "controlled adversity training"?
Again, depriving a child of love and
emotional support, and stating it is something that must be
earned, further establishes the disdainful and cruel nature of
the Abundant Life Academy program. All children and people
deserve the emotional support of their friends and family.
It is a parent's responsibility and even a legally required
responsibility to provide for both the emotional and material
needs of their children. It is clearly obscene, arguably
illegal, and downright un-Christian to suggest a child should be
abandoned materially and emotionally by his/her parents.
In the third statement from page 3
above, we have outright contradiction in the same paragraph.
Here we have Abundant Life Academy taking no responsibility for
the efficacy (or lack thereof) of their program or methods and
placing all the responsibility on the Youth and/or the family.
Abundant Life Academy again states that participation is
voluntary, yet, that parents and the program "compel" (aka force
or use overwhelming pressure/coercion) the child to "work the
program". This is hypocritical and not in line with
Christian values or the teachings of Christ. In this
section, Abundant Life Academy claims to make no guarantees of
success and this is contradicted on page 23 of the contract
which refers to the ALA guarantee program under the After Care
header (there are 2 page 23s in the contract, it is the second
page 23). No guarantee in the "four corners" of the
written contract, but, oral "guarantees" that would arguably not
be considered by a court and would turn into "he said/she said".
It is not professional and with so many contradictory terms
suggests an illusory contract or void/voidable contract at best.
And, in contradiction to page 1 of
the agreement, it states children from time-to-time complete the
program in less than 9 months. But, Abundant Life Academy
wants you to pay for the full 9 months and is really concerned
about the money they are raking in at your expense as opposed to
helping families in crisis. This is quite clear throughout
Agreement (Page 4)
Parent promises to inform the Academy any time the Youth
attempts to discuss an early graduation date, or "deal"...the
Academy will provide to the Family a mandatory Aftercare Program
for the purpose of Continued Family Restoration...During the
Youth's participation in the Academy program, the Youth will
take part in an International Mercy Ministry Trip for the
purpose of Participating in a Christian outreach project."
"The Parent fully understands that
the Academy does not provide mental health services, therapy, or
secular counseling of any kind. The Academy is a Christian
leadership program where students are mentored and coached by
using the principals found in the teachings of Jesus Christ as
recorded in the New Testament."
"It is the understanding of the
Parent that this Enrollment Agreement will be in effect for at
least (9) months, and thereafter will become a month-to-month
agreement until terminated by the Parent...The Parent
understands, acknowledges, and agrees and to keep their Youth
enrolled at the Academy until Youth fully completes the entire
program [program completion is at the sole discretion of the ALA
staff]..." (cont. on to page 5)
In the first
paragraph above Abundant Life Academy again poses parents
against their children asking them to betray their child's
confidence and further destroy any trust relationship or
foundation remaining between child and parent. Also, the
focus is money. The Aftercare Program is costly and
amounts to not much more than e-mails between ALA staff and the
family. This is a rip-off and the exploitation of children
and families for profit would definitely offend Christ who
opposed the money-changers in houses of the Lord. This is
utter hypocrisy and greed-mongering. Persons of faith do
not exploit their fellows in this manner.
Also, is the International Mercy
Ministry trip associated with Mercy Ministries, Inc.? If
so, there are ample reports that Mercy Ministries, Inc. is
fraudulent and abusive. See:
Viewing children as spoiled and in
need of strict discipline is of the "Old Testament". So,
again, hypocrisy. And, in this section it should read
"principles" not "principals". This again shows the lack
of basic writing skills exemplified throughout this so-called
The Academy requires Parents to
agree that they will keep their child at Abundant Life Academy
until Abundant Life Academy decides the child has completed the
program. Again, it contradicts stating a minimum of 9
months when in the previous page early graduation/completion is
noted. Regardless, Abundant Life Academy wants to make
sure they get their money and make that quite clear, even though
the rest of the contract is illusory, contradictory, and
generally and/or arguably unenforceable.
Agreement (Page 5)
"Enrollment Fee of $__________, totaling $41,250.00 plus the
first prorated month."
"$750 per sport"
"$350 month Horsemanship"
"$1,450 After Care Coaching"
"$2500 Mercy Ministry Trip"
"Any Youth that has completed the
entire program will only be able to graduate and leave the
program on the last day of each month...the Parent acknowledges
that they are still responsible to pay for the Youth's total
program and no refund of tuition will be provided." (finishes on
are looking at over $50,000 for unprofessional care, inadequate
educational services, and "Christian Leadership Training" by
people who are representative of something other than Christian
values. The enrollment fee is included on page 9 and is
$3,000 and non-refundable. The high cost of the Mercy
Ministry Trip in which your child would be forced to labor is
absurd and suggests it is the "bad" Mercy Ministries, Inc., and
not the Mercy Ministries of America that is involved.
And, they certainly want that full
fee. Even if your child completes early they may hold your
child up to a month to insure that they get their money.
This is not Christian and not respectful or conducive to family
unity. Later on, Abundant Life Academy repeats how
everything is at the sole discretion of Abundant Life Academy
and this too suggests an unconscionable contract as it is
weighted to solely benefit Abundant Life Academy and provides no
legitimate service or provision warranting the expenditures made
by families to the program.
Agreement (Page 6)
Parent understands and fully acknowledges that Parent will be
responsible for paying all tuition and unpaid fees for the
duration of this enrollment period [9 months] whether or not
Youth completes the entire program."
"These students are extremely mature
and are a major part of helping the new incoming students to
make the same changes. The students preparing to return
home (program graduates) are required to "give back" what they
have received to the new incoming students, helping the entering
students to make major changes in their lives."
Abundant Life Academy is ill-equipped to succeed in a legitimate
business and intends to make sure they get every dime regardless
of the fact that they offer no guarantees and take no
responsibility for the outcome of their "training".
The second segment above refers to the
use of graduates as lower level staff. This is
uncompensated labor and insures that Abundant Life Academy
maximizes their profits while the children do most, if not all,
of the work. It appears that Abundant Life Academy is
nothing more than a scam and/or cult and it should be avoided.
Positive Peer Culture, which is suggested by the second
segment, is confirmedly abusive, ineffective, and harmful.
Agreement (Page 7)
hope of the Academy is that upon the Youth's return home the
Youth will appreciate the resources (good education, nice home,
warm bed, good meals, fine clothes, autos, etc.) that were lost
upon Youth's enrollment..."
"...the Academy does not place the
academic performance of the Youth as the number one priority.
They typical new student is not usually academically motivated,
and therefore in the first trimester the Academy is more focused
on redirecting the Youth's attitude toward education...The
Parent fully acknowledges and understands that the priority of
trimester one is to redirect the Youth and is focused mainly on
"Weekly phone contact from Youth to
Parent (with the exception of the first four weeks of enrollment
where there may be a voluntary communication blackout period
where the Youth is getting acclimated to the Academy)."
"life coaching in accordance with
the Student Manual;"
"Christian Leadership Training (See
It is disturbing
to think that by enrolling your child in Abundant Life Academy
you have agreed to their losing the resources of a good
education and good meals. It seems an admission that
Abundant Life Academy does not provide good education and good
meals as those were lost to the child upon enrollment.
What loving parent would subject a child to such an environment?
This suggests an illegal agreement that requires abandonment and
neglect of the child and the child's needs. See
www.heal-online.org/teenrights.htm for information on child
abuse laws in Utah and across the United States. It is
highly likely that Abundant Life Academy and parents contracting
with them are in violation of the law by signing and
implementing the conditions of this agreement.
What does Abundant Life Academy mean by
"emotional maturity"? How are they trained or educated to
determine what is the appropriate level of emotional maturity
for the children they claim to "train"?
The fact that there is a
"communication blackout period" is a serious concern and one of
the primary warning signs of an abusive program. See
www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for more information and
additional questions to ask/points of inquiry.
What does Abundant Life Academy mean
by "life coaching"? Why isn't the Student Manual available
to the public for review? What are they hiding about their
What does Abundant Life Academy mean
by "Christian Leadership Training"? Does Abundant Life
Academy understand that the primary method of leadership in
Christianity is to lead by example? What example is
Abundant Life Academy setting by being controlling and showing
that blind following of those claiming authority is good or
Agreement (Page 8)
Student Manual, which sets forth, the details by which the
Academy will conduct its daily operations...Said Student Manual
may be revised, updated, and improved from time to time, at the
sole discretion of the Academy."
"...the Academy in every way to
insist that High School graduates will immediately begin taking
"The parent fully acknowledges that
the monthly fee for students earning more than five credits will
be $560 per month."
"The Parent shall be responsible to
provide the following for the Youth while in the care of the
Academy...ALA Uniform...All specialized Hygiene or Medicinal
Products...Recreational Equipment an Vocational Tools...Bible
and other approved reading materials..." (continues on page 9)
discretionary changes to the daily operations and practices of
the Academy changed regularly by the Academy without notice and
with the purpose of creating instability and confusion in the
child and/or the family?
What college does the Academy require children enroll in and is
it legitimate or an online scam from which they derive any
And, yet additional costs for
education that are not covered with the very steep "tuition"
costs already applied. This is a serious issue and
suggests a profit-motive over any desire to help Christian
families in need of support. Why do they require parents
to supply and purchase from them ALA uniforms, hygiene products,
recreational and vocational equipment, and reading materials?
What exactly are you getting for your $50,000, just additional
expenses? How much money do these people need to make off
of their enrollees?
Agreement (Page 9)
personal items are not covered items under any insurance policy
of the Academy and the Academy assumes no liability or
responsibility for a Youth's personal item that is traded, sold,
lost, destroyed, or otherwise disposed of..."
"Academy Leadership Curriculum,
Trainings, Materials, and Conferences;"
"Non-Specialized hygiene products
"Bedding, Linen, Towels"
"Incidental transportation while
enrolled in the school."
Again, we have
Abundant Life Academy taking absolutely no responsibility for
the care of the very belongings they require families to provide
for their children while in the program. And, later in the
review, (see page 28 of enrollment agreement) we see that they
assume the right to dispose of any property at their whim if
they think it is not conducive to the ALA environment.
This puts Abundant Life Academy and their staff in a prime
position to steal from you and your family and claim you agreed
to it by signing this ridiculous contract. Programs often
steal or "misplace" items of both financial and sentimental
value. These include religious-emblem necklaces (i.e. a
crucifix) and other items that they can pawn or re-gift.
And, if you sign the agreement, they will claim you agreed to
allow the disappearance of heirloom items including precious
Bibles that delineate family histories. And, they will
blame you for sending items of value with your child knowing
they were likely to disappear.
The other items listed above are
stated to be covered by the $3,000 enrollment fee.
However, in later pages, parents must agree to a $75 incidental
transportation fee (see page 30 of agreement) for children while
enrolled in the program. Make no mistake, this is not a
school and does not provide an education. This is also
deceptive language in the contract. This is not a school.
Agreement (Page 10)
"If Parent allows Youth to
participate, they hereby acknowledge that such activities may be
at locations other than the Academy and under the supervision of
other adults not employed by the Academy."
"If in fact the Academy expels a
Youth for the reasons described in number 12, at the Academy's
discretion, all or a portion of any unused tuition may be
returned to the Parent...This document may be revised at the
Academy's discretion...The most recent version of the Expulsion
Policies is expressly incorporated in full into this Enrollment
Agreement by this reference."
"In the event of an actual breach of
the agreement has occurred by the Academy any past due tuition
MUST be paid by the Parent prior to the approval of the
termination; Parent MUST pay fees and past due tuition fees
prior to the termination of this Enrollment Agreement."
Wavier is not a
legal term. And, it is the word that is used repeatedly
throughout this contract. The word they likely intended
was waiver. But, "wavier" is a variation of wavy as in
"wavy lines or wavy hair". It in no way is a legal term.
This again goes to show the unprofessional and amateurish nature
of the agreement authors and further suggests the lack of skill
and education of the author(s) and the Academy itself. An
intelligent person would know the difference between wavier and
Academy has a fiduciary responsibility in acting in place of the
parents to insure that the children are not left alone with
child predators or adults that are not screened or monitored by
the Academy. Here again, we have Abundant Life Academy
worrying about their own interests and not the interests of the
families they claim to serve.
It is unconscionable and symptomatic
of an illusory promise to state that portions of the agreement
can be changed at any time by Abundant Life Academy and that the
agreeing families are or would agree to unknown terms and be
held to those unknown terms. A court would likely not
uphold this contract and would likely find it void on a number
of grounds including being adverse to public policy.
And, the kicker...Abundant Life
Academy claims, that in the event they have breached the
contract, that they still demand, and the family must agree to
still pay for, the entire enrollment package prior to
terminating the contract even though Abundant Life has breached
it. This is obscene and does not show someone who respects
the laws of man or of God.
Agreement (Page 11)
"...the Parent agrees to pay any and all property damage, or
damage to a person, or "business related" injuries (i.e. the
Academy's reputation within the community) caused by or incurred
by the Youth while enrolled with the Academy."
"The Academy may offer the Parent
the opportunity to have the Academy temporarily suspend the
Youth's enrollment, if the Parent enrolls the Youth into a
short-term Wilderness Program/Boot Camp...the Academy will
assist the Parent in finding an educational consultant who will
work with the Parent in recommending a Wilderness Program/Boot
Camp to fit the Youth's needs. The Academy recommend Zion
Educational Systems ("ZES") as educational consultants and
TransporTeens.com as the transportation agents...At the
Academy's discretion, the Academy may provide limited tuition
credits to the Parent for the amounts the Parent paid to other
educational consultants and/or transportation agents. The
Parent understands that the Academy is not affiliated with any
shortterm Wilderness Program/Boot Camp with which the Parent or
Youth has dealings or enters into an enrollment or tuition
"The Parent understands and
acknowledges that it is the general policy of Abundant Life
Academy to expect the Parent to refrain from visiting the child
during the first 91 days of enrollment...visits prior to
completion of trimester one have caused harm..."
"...the Parent agrees to refrain
from contacting any other Parent or family member of any Academy
Youth for any reason without the full knowledge and written
permission of the Academy."
In regards to the
first segment in the above cell, shouldn't Abundant Life Academy
be responsible for any damages to its reputation that may occur
due to its own mismanagement? It is outrageous to suggest
families be responsible for any "harm" to the reputation of a
business that was closed by Mexican authorities for child abuse.
Any "harm" to Abundant Life Academy's reputation is due to its
own incompetence and they should hold themselves accountable for
any damage that is incurred due to that incompetence.
Zion Educational Systems (ZES) is a
marketing agency for the "troubled teen" industry based out of
St. George, UT. St. George, UT is the home-base for the
confirmedly abusive and fraudulent
of programs, among others (i.e.
Eagle Ranch Academy).
ZES' clients include Abundant Life Academy, Ascend Recovery,
School, and Clarity at Seven Ponds. (Source:
Obviously, there is a fiduciary relationship between Abundant
Life Academy and ZES and Abundant Life's statement that they are
not affiliated with the outside programs or referrers is
misleading. The people behind ZES are Craig Rogers, Cliff
Painter, and Franko Mandato. In addition, there are online
articles stating that
Craig Rogers is the founder and CEO of Abundant Life
Rogers was reported to have worked for WWASPS.
and Abundant Life Academy refer to WWASPS through their own
website. Painter claims to have worked for Abundant Life Academy from
2005-2007. And, Mandato claims to have worked for
Abundant Life Academy since 2003.
TransporTeens.com appears to be a
subsidiary of ZES. People running this kidnap-for-hire
service include Russell Welch. They recommend parents use
troubledteendirectory.com to locate wilderness programs and
other services. They refer specifically to Melissa Waters
at troubledteendirectory.com and state they work closely with
her. Troubledteendirectory.com claims to be currently
under construction and offers no information regarding their
business or services. The same number and information for
Melissa Waters (an "educational consultant") shows up in
searches in relation to solutionsfortroubledteens.com.
This brings up a site for North Rim Leadership Academy,
co-founded by Craig Rogers of ZES and Abundant Life Academy.
The same phone number for North Rim Leadership Academy is
associated with restoringtroubledteens.com. And, this site
refers to a number of abusive programs including
Adirondack Leadership Expeditions,
Diamond Ranch Academy, and
Provo Canyon School.
If these are the programs that ZES refers to, it is likely good
to avoid them and anyone associated with them (i.e. Abundant
Life Academy). Can you say "conflict of interest"?
Keeping a child isolated from family
and cutting off communication for months at a time is cruel and
not conducive to a healthy model or the reunification of
families in crisis. It does not harm a child to visit with
their parents and suggesting it does is absurd.
In the final segment of page 11
mentioned above, we again see the controlling and overbearing
nature of Abundant Life Academy. It suggests they have
something to hide and do not want any parents or families
discussing problems or the program without their full knowledge
and consent. Parents enrolling a child are adults and
should be respected as such and not have demands made of them
regarding with whom they communicate. This is an
overbearing system of control that suggests more of a cult than
Agreement (Page 12)
"...the Academy expects the full support of the Parent in all
"Doing so will help the Youth to
fully commit to the program, which will help the Youth
experience an internal heart change. The Parent
acknowledges that excessive or unreasonable complaints to the
Academy about the program, the Academy, or the staff can
distract from and hinder the progress the Academy is attempting
to make with the Youth. The Parent agrees not to complain
about or criticize the Academy, the program, or the Academy's
staff directly to or in front of the Youth or to any current
student of the Academy or the parents of any current
student...the Parent agrees to state their concerns or
complaints in writing, by emailing the Academy at
...Failure to abide by the provisions of this paragraph could
lead to the immediate expulsion of the Youth without refund."
"Good faith and fair dealing"
"If any terms, covenant or condition
of this "Enrollment Agreement" shall, to any extent, be invalid
or unenforceable, the remainder...shall be valid and be
In the first two
segments above, we have a demand of full and unquestioning
support of Abundant Life Academy. This is followed by a
ridiculously unprofessional complaint resolution service that
requires all complaints be made via e-mail and not in front of
the child. What if a child mentions having been harmed in
a telephone conference and the parent wants an immediate
explanation from the program staff? Are they to send an
e-mail instead of question the fact that their child has been
abused? It is absurd and over-reaching. An
intelligent parent would avoid Abundant Life Academy.
What does Abundant Life Academy mean by
an "internal heart change"? And, how is this "change"
This entire contract is illusory and
likely void/voidable as a matter of public policy or arguably
due to illegality and/or unconscionability. And, Abundant
Life Academy should be forced to refund all the money they have
ever taken from families in need. That is HEAL's opinion.
Including or suggesting any of this "agreement" amounts to a
good faith and fair dealing arrangement is absolutely absurd and
attorney would likely agree.
The whole contract is likely
unenforceable due to the reasons mentioned above.
Agreement (Page 13)
Parent agrees to resolve any and all disputes of this Enrollment
Agreement in the State of Utah."
and advertising outside of the state of Utah and taking
international and/or interstate clients, it is unfair and
imbalanced to require that all disputes be resolved in Utah.
If you do not wish to be held to interstate standards or federal
standards, leave the rest of the US alone and only torment the
locals, Abundant Life Academy!
Agreement (Page 14)
"Parent acknowledges that the Academy is not obligated to inform
parent by phone, email, or letter, as to every upcoming planned
or unplanned recreational and social activities.
Therefore, unless otherwise specified in writing, the Academy
understands that Youth is given permission by Parent to
participate in all Academy recreational and social activities."
Here they have
snuck something in... Parents have to pay additional fees for
every social and recreational activity that the Academy engages
in and this is beyond the almost $50,000 tuition and enrollment
costs. This is discussed in the pricing of these
additional activities on pages 16, 23, and 30 of the contract.
They rake in the dough, but, what are they doing for you and
Agreement (Page 14)
"Permission to Participate and Wavier of Liability Agreement"
Again, there is
no such legal term as "wavier" and these repeated spelling and
grammatical errors really shine the light on the lack of
intelligence and professionalism of Abundant Life Academy and
their founders. The misspelling and error are repeated on
the same page and therefore, HEAL would imagine, the agreement
would be unenforceable. This is a permission slip only and
is not written as a proper waiver of liability. So, if
your child was harmed by Abundant Life Academy, don't let the
contract scare you. Let it scare them.
Agreement (Page 17)
stated in our web site Abundant Life Academy at Kanab, Inc.,
serves gifted students who might be academically unmotivated and
possibly need to address and overcome Learning
Disabilities...More specifically, entitlement is a term meant to
describe a child who is selfish, selfcentered, lazy,
unappreciative, ungrateful, and "spoiled"...The students that we
serve are basically good kids from good Christian families."
back to page 4 of the agreement, we see that they are not
qualified and do not offer help or appropriate help for children
with learning disabilities. In the above statement, they
suggest or imply that their purpose is to assist children in
overcoming learning disabilities. This is a blatant
contradiction. They admit to being unqualified to provide
professional assistance to those diagnosed with Learning
Disabilities and then claim it is the primary purpose of their
program. Hypocrisy? Yes. Deception? Yes.
Christian? Probably not.
Of course, this is also followed by more misspellings and poor
grammar. The notion of "spoiling a child" is Old Testament
and not in line with the professed "New Testament" focus of
Abundant Life Academy.
Agreement (Page 20)
the Academy expects some degree of resistance initially from a
student in regards to the rules of the Academy..."
"If a student is expelled or chooses
to leave the Academy, in consultation with the student's
parent(s), the Academy will assist in arranging the immediate
transportation of the student to a more suitable environment.
This may mean transportation to the student's home or to another
If a child does
not wish to be at the Academy and resists being there, they are
by definition not there voluntarily. This is discussed in
detail above, but, we wanted to be sure you see the ongoing
pattern of deceptive language and manipulation of language
common in this "agreement".
It is a concern that Abundant Life
Academy is so quick to help get children placed in confirmedly
abusive programs such as Provo Canyon School and/or Aspen
Education Group programs. Abundant Life Academy should be
Agreement (Page 21)
agree to be bound by the most recent version of these Expulsion
Policies, provided that a copy of the revised Expulsion Policies
is provided to us or notice is given to us that a revised
version of the Expulsion Policies is available to be viewed on
the Academy's website."
This is a tricky
section as earlier in the agreement (page 10), it is stated, and
thereby notice has been given, that the policy is subject to
change at the whim and sole discretion of the program.
And, it is likely that no notice other than that which is given
in the "agreement" itself will be forthcoming in the event of
any whimsical or discretionary changes made to those policies.
It is unreasonable and against public policy for anyone to agree
to terms they have not first read and reviewed. It is
arguably an unconscionable provision and likely void.
Agreement (Page 22)
"Parents agree to refrain from informing their child of the
impending departure from the school while the child is still
enrolled. Upon receipt of the enrollment termination
letter ALA will retain all payments made in advance, and
continue to bill the "Parents" for the amount owed for the
duration of the 9month enrollment agreement."
For ALA, it is
all about the "benjamins". Money. This is not a
Christian ethic and flies in the face of the teachings of
Christ. These are scoundrels and hypocrites who should be
run out of business for doing this to struggling families.
Also, it is wrong to ask the parents to
deceive their children or to avoid discussing the child's own
future with him/her. This is disrespectful to the child
and the child's right to know plans being made regarding his/her
life. It also further creates a trust issue between
parents and children and this is not conducive to effective
Agreement (Page 23/24)
"Without aftercare coaching from ALA we do not claim or promise
that there will be any success of the student upon their
"[the ALA guarantee program states
that if a child fails at home within the first three month of
their return home, ALA will reenroll the child back into ALA at
the cost of 30% of the current month's tuition]"
"The decision to reenroll will be
made between the ALA Aftercare coach and the parents of the
"Additionally, if the ALA Graduate,
in the 4th to 6th month after graduation, begins to return to
the old behaviors that led to his/her being placed in ALA,
he/she can return to ALA at the price of 50% of the current
Again, there is
no claim or promise of success thereby no guarantee. Yet,
this is followed by a statement regarding an elusive "ALA
guarantee program". This is followed by stating that the
determination will be made solely by subjective and interested
parties (financial incentive for the program to say that the
child should return to ALA) and will not include the child or an
independent party who may be better able to objectively review
the needs of and what is in the best interest of the child and
his/her family. This type of secret negotiation again
creates an environment of distrust between the child and the
parents and is not conducive to family unity.
Agreement (Page 26)
"Returning students shall not be permitted to stay longer than
Life Academy ever keep children enrolled for more than 18 months
or more than 6 months if he/she is a returning student? We
imagine that the answer to this is "yes". If you know,
please enlighten us.
Agreement (Page 27)
"RUNAWAY EXPENSES...the Parent who agrees to accept full
responsibility for any and all such costs and expenses, and to
pay the same within seven (7) days of the Parents receipt of
So, if a child
escapes Abundant Life Academy due to their lax supervision or to
their creating an environment intolerable for human habitation,
they will require the family to pay any and all expenses in
recovering the child. Again, more money. What
exactly are parents paying such a steep $50,000+ amount for?
Does Abundant Life Academy take any responsibility at all for
their program or the resulting issues that occur as a result of
their practices? It appears they do not.
Agreement (Page 28)
"AUTHORIZATION FOR SEARCH AND SEIZURE. Parents hereby
authorizes Abundant Life Academy personnel to search the person
and personal effects of..."
"Abundant Life Academy is further
authorized to confiscate any and all items deemed by Abundant
Life Academy to be contraband or counterproductive to the
Student's successful completion of the program. The
disposition of all items confiscated by Abundant Life Academy
shall be left to the sole discretion of Abundant Life Academy."
Good children who
are just suffering from being slightly "spoiled" do not warrant
a search of body or personal effects. ALA claims they do
not treat anyone with mental health or substance abuse problems
and that they do not accept children with these problems.
This would eliminate any "probable cause" they may have for
conducting such a search and such a search is violative of the
child's civil rights. Yes, children have recognized civil
rights and this type of illegal search and seizure is a
violation of those rights. Again, this is not legal
advice, please consult an attorney and discuss any legal
questions with an attorney.
And, here we have Abundant Life Academy admitting to
arbitrary decision-making regarding the confiscation and
disposal of the personal property of the child and/or his/her
family that is sent with the child or to the child while at
Abundant Life Academy. It creates an environment where
theft would be common-place and allows for ALA to steal from
students without any repercussions. This is unacceptable.
Agreement (Page 29)
"AUTHORIZATION FOR RESTRAINT...the Parent hereby authorizes
Abundant Life Academy personnel to physically restrain, control,
and detain the student...when deemed necessary by Abundant Life
Academy, for the purposes including but not limited to transport
the student to and from the Program's location, returning the
Student to the Program's Location, returning the Student to the
Program if the Student runs away, or preventing the Student from
jeopardizing the Student's own safety or the safety of others."
Donahue reported that he was choked by ALA staff in one of
their "restraint holds". These people admit to not having
the proper training to even administer restraint when necessary
and claim to only accept children who do not have a history of
violence or criminal activity. There is absolutely no good
reason why any parent should permit such an unqualified program
to restrain or detain their child or exert extreme physical
control over their child. It is unhealthy for children to
be controlled or abused by those who wish to keep them in
conditions that are not legally permissible outside of those who
have been convicted or adjudicated to a program or prison.
This environment conditions children to believe that they are
subject to the controls and abuses of those in authority
positions without question. That is a very dangerous
lesson to impart to any human being.
We hope you have found this review
helpful. Good luck and please don't place your children in
Abundant Life Academy. For parenting suggestions and