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SURVIVOR REPORTS

 

Report One: By Anonymous Survivor (We will forward appropriate messages to this survivor, e-mail us.)

 

I testify that everything in my statement is true.  I give HEAL permission to use my statement.

 

In 1981 and 1982 I attended Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic, an overseas boarding school owned by Pastor Gordon Blossom of New Horizon's Youth Ministries Marion, Indiana. Based on my experience as a student, staff members of NHYM and Escuela Caribe are definitely abusive.

 

A staff member, Brenda Wheeler of the girl's house (Starr House), could not find her money and a packet of jello turned up missing. The housefather Phil Redwine (now indirectly serving as a director- his name is not listed but students say he still is) forced us to wake up very late in the night (2am? we had no watches) and do push ups and calisthenics until dawn. As dawn broke we were individually led into a room alone with a staff member and forced to name a student who we thought stole the items. A new student was singled out, Lynn Stallworth of Panama. Staff members forced us to strip the accused student naked and scrub her body under cold water with very harsh laundry brushes. We were later paired up and tied to each other until someone confessed. Turned out that a Dominican laundry woman working for the school had taken the items. A house mother of the boys house, Thomas House, observed recently stolen items in her possession. Solitary confinement and "Mr Brown", a thick leather strap were used for punishments such as talking back or failure to clean to school standards. We were not allowed to speak or write of any of these things while we were in the school or our communication privileges were threatened. After sharing these things with my mother over 20 years later she admitted that she had no idea this kind of stuff was going on and never would have sent me. New Horizon's Youth Ministries never had a certified child psychologist available for any students or staff in need of guidance, though therapy was essential to our healing.

 

I ask that under all circumstances, my name and contact info stand as confidential, available only through direct permission from me.

 

SURVIVOR REPORT #2

By D. L. (We will forward appropriate messages to this survivor, e-mail us)

 

Everything in my statement is true. I give HEAL permission to use my statement.  I was a student in New Horizons Youth Ministries from mid 1979- mid 1983, also, the oldest student they ever accepted.  They usually range from 12 -18, but was almost 19 when starting.

      I was first of all deceived by the Founder, Gordon Blossom, who showed me pictures of fun and unity, and really didn't know what to say, because it seemed too good to be true - getting my education in the Caribbean. I had "no" idea what I was in for. Thinking that this program was located somewhere near a beach, I found myself in the mountains of Jarabacoa.

     The first day of being in LaJolla House, was introduced to their point system, where you had to obtain a certain amount of points, plus do a bunch of Scripture memory verses and calesthenics  to receive your levels . The higher you went (4th and 5th), you then needed to get 100% of the house's votes. Having to be on 0 level for the first two weeks,  noticed this guy was fronting when it was his time to try and earn 4th level, thus, I was confronted by my House Father, even after telling him my thoughts, he received it , then thought that this program was not for me.  I thus bucked the system the whole time I was involved , and then was targeted for "being negative" having  " an authority problem", and insubordinate. As you will read , fronting is one key to " success". 

      The longer being in the Dominican Republic, they more they tried to have me conform , where it got to the point where I had to do an excessive amount of cals, or depending on the house , awoke to stand under a cold shower for about 20 minutes to a 1/2 hour. There were also things called casita runs, where, depending on which house you were at , ( being at their mountain location), had to run up and down a 45-50 degree slope , touch the door of the Founder's casita and then do them again. 

     One time, being in Quemado House, we had troubles in passing house inspection, where if we didn't pass this one time,  spent our "free day" climbing Mount Megote, twice.  Also being in this house , a  cocky new student didn't like me for some reason and initiated a boxing match.  Not knowing that I boxed ( having gloves at home , and also being left handed) two punches later, he declined,  and then for some reason left Escuela Caribe- lucky bugger!  I had so much hate and frustration in me, actually provoked more of the fight, but was held off.  

     I'm not sure exactly, but I believe it was every 6 months, we had a thing called "work week" where we would spend approximately 8 hours a day improving the real estate by busting up rocks and having to haul them, or at one time TKB was in the process of being completed, and we had to  move the landscape back so in case of a land slide, etc. I believe doing this only prolonged my real desire in wanting to get my education.  

      Bud Teare was known as the biggest threat amongst staff, being the Program Director in Marion, and their summer program in Canada. He was even flown down and thus could hear him yelling at students, slamming them around,  to finally receive swats, where you had to be on your kness, lean over a chair, to receive up to ten. I had my first run in with him in Canada. 

      Part of getting good points was having to rat on other students, where in time you would find yourself being ratted on because of they being retaliatory.  So, another part of the program was to demoralize and humiliate others.

      Being 21 now, and not imparting to me that I actually had the legal right to leave their outfit in the Dominican  Republic, actually packed my suitcase and started heading out the door, where I was stopped by my house father, restrained by having him lock the door, and then having been driven by the Program Director to the main campus (on the outskirts of down town ) to be yelled at, given a  hair cut, and then swats. Afterwards, was "trusted" to walk back to the mountain . Being in the town, wanted to veer right, but strayed left knowing that it would have only gotten worse.

      There was one time  as we were driven from the main campus to our house in the mountain, I  was restrained from looking out the window as we went through the town to the outskirts, because of looking at Dominican women as we went through. This went on for weeks at a time.

      After  2 and 1/2 years in the DR  was shipped to to their campus in Marion, Indiana. I had thought about wanting to run away once a few of us got to Miami, but what I really thought of was trying to get my high school diploma. So, resided there  for a while. The abuse was still apparent, but not as bad,  to where I had enough and walked off the campus. Approximately four months later was persuaded to go back and "F" the program  and get my education. So, went back to eventually have to pack up and we went to their program in Missanabie, Ontario, Canada.

      One day passing by Bud, he thought I was being condescending on his "authority" and slammed me against the tool shed, having left a huge dent in one of it's doors. Another time, was forced to pick up a freshly cut 300 lb log  by myself to haul it the saw. My squad having to carry a "squad log" I tried to pass them , and accidently tapped my house father on his shoulder . He then had them put the log down and yelled at me for quite some time. Because of  wearing a red flannel shirt, you could now hear people bellow,"Red shirt, red shirt's coming!" sometimes a little added , "Watch out!" was  being heard for weeks, obviously having to wear it for that amount of time, and not being able to wash it.

      There were other situations I witnessed in the DR with other students, where if you should type www.isaccorp.com , instances that they describe fit to a tee (for example, watching a girl having to scrub a stone on the main campus' floor with a tooth brush).

      Having picketed NHYM on 09/30/06-10/01/06, as they were celebrating Founder's Day, we had a TV  news team and newspaper come and interview us.  One of my signs was, "Deception Breeds Corruption And I'm Just "1" Who Was Deceived !

      Having seen an earlier news clipping , where isaccorp has it posted , Tim, CEO, also son of the Founder, said "You can't abuse kids , it doesn't work!" where another one I wrote was "So You Don't Abuse, Huh?" Watching students today walk to the main building , there were some who gave us the thumbs up , which one gal said it was worth having to fly from Georgia just to see that.

      Because he knows my family in quite the personal way, invited me to breakfast on 10/02  and I told him that his father deceived me. He agreed and said that they don't do that anymore . Should you click on to www.nhym.com , you  will still see pictures of fun, and on their Escuela Caribe section, some guy diving off a cliff , which is deceiving as to what is actually entailed.

      He also mentioned that they abolished swats, where my thoughts / concerns are now, what do they use for corporal punishment, knowing of the other facets used- if now extending them.

      Being an alumni on www.nyhm-alumni.org , we are doing our best to stop the abuse that still happens as more and more alumni register with us, maybe being to eventually shut them down; my being a definite foundation , because of who I really am, and  because of the involvement my family had with them ( even donating money to making Lare House).

     I find it ironic, knowing that this program didn't essentially help at all, even having to be disowned by my father, why their involvement was the way it was.

      Phil Redwine, a couple of years ago,  said that I didn't need to be in the DR where they left me there to basically rot in their oppressive atmosphere. Also, having a life changing experience, where a dictionary finally helped me to identify that one thing , (because of my upbringing and life overall) was, that I suffered from oppression, which literally had this cloud lift from me, tripling my ability to inhale, and has now allowed a totally different perspective . Anyways, he knew I was oppressed, but didn't do anything to help - his comment being , he didn't know how to handle it: in the meantime watching me make a fool of myself, but today know I wasn't being foolish.  

      Should they read this, they would know who it was that wrote this . So, I don't care if you show my name as to anonymity. As a matter of  fact I would have it that you post me on the web , so parents can see that this stuff happens and not have to now spend $6,000 a month to have their child end up like this, and eventually on the Alumni web site, describing their instances of abuse, that obviously still happens.

     I think it great that you help in warning others, but are not actually helping us  having to do the dirty work to shut this place down. I'm just imparting my reasoning why I am placing this testimony with you and there are still students today in the DR, suffering from this program 

      I have actually made a Declaration also to isaccorp , describing my instances. This is actually more descriptive, but the content still is the same. 

 

SURVIVOR REPORT #3

By Jenny Littlejohn (If you'd like to send an appropriate message to Jenny, we will forward it.  E-mail Us.)

 

Everything in my statement is true.  I give HEAL permission to use my statement.

 

I was a student sent to NHYM in December 2004. I was an adopted child who was severely abused physically and sexually in my earlier childhood. I was sent to the program because I could not bond with my adoptive parents due to the abuse before they received me. I worked hard to push everyone away because I could not trust anyone. I went to the program to learn how to trust and love again. I never participated in drugs, alcohol, or promiscuous behavior before entering the program. The program promised my parents that I would receive certified educated counseling. I would be shown how to love again and how to accept my past and learn that not everyone was out to get me. The program how ever laughed in my face the moment my parents left. As a new student I was ridiculed, told I was fat (I was 128lbs ), had my hair cut against my will by Matt Allen, a house father in Pitts house. I had to ask permission to step in every room. I.e. "May I please step into the living room, May I please step into the kitchen ect." Then I had to do 15 push-ups before I entered each room. If I had to go to the bathroom I had 30 sec to urinate and 1 min 45 sec for a bowel movement. I got one square of toilet to urinate and 3 for my bowel movement. In "school" we were forced to self teach. I was given books with a list of the weeks assignments. The teachers in the class were not knowledgeable of the subjects, and being that the class room consisted of anything from 6th grade to 12th we could be of no help to each other. If I was not able to achieve a grade "B" or above, I was punished. This later resulted in me attending the last half of my senior year once I left the program) and being behind in a normal high school. I attended with a fellow housemate who had been molested by one of our house fathers and instead of supporting her, the school made her feel as if she encouraged and caused it. I spent many nights, up all night long doing "units" (25 push-ups, 25 squat-thrusts, 25 mountain climbers, 25 sit-ups, and 25 jumping-jacks) and getting to rest in push-up position before beginning again. I was pushed, jabbed in the chest and ridiculed in front of my house mates. My parents received monthly reports of my progress. Once I came home and found the stack of reports, I began to get angry. The reports told of house trips, shopping trips and movies. They said they took us to the zoo and the children's resume. I even found where they asked my parents to send in a set amount of money for my personal use each month, like an allowance. My parents sent in the money and I never received it. Nor did I ever take these "fun trips" that my parents thought I was taking. They also told my parents that I was not doing well and that they recommended that I continue the program because I was constantly lying and "bucking authority:. They said I flirted with the boys and caused problems. None of this was true. In fact I was scared of men due to my abuse. I never even had my FIRST BOYFRIEND until I was 20years old. Then In Canada at NHYM's wilderness camp, we were given 1 bucket of lake water and this was all we could use to bathe with. We washed our clothes on rocks with scrub brushes. When we were punished we were placed at the end of a dock and 3 or 4 house fathers surrounded us and screamed at us all the while pushing us closer to the edge of the dock and eventually in the lake. We then had to tread water while they continued to scream. Eventually we were yanked out and forced to do pushups while being soaking wet( oh yeah, and we had on boots, jeans, a t-shirt and a flannel shirt) if we couldn't then we were pushed back in and started all over.   We worked long hours,8 a day, hauling logs and making board walks and much more. While in Canada my father passed away. I was told later that my mom was told that I could only go home for the day of the funeral and that my mom was not to cater to my emotions that I would only be crying for attention and not be truly grieving. I went home the night before the funeral and went back to Canada the day of. When I got back Larry Ponder, my house father, and Lori Rehem, my house mother, told my cabin that no one was aloud to talk to me about my father and that they were to ignore me and tell them if I tried. I was not aloud to grieve. This created further anger and less of a desire to love and grow. In counseling I could talk about nothing that was bothering me because they told me that unless I behaved to their standards I would never be ready to deal with my issues. Now correct me if I am wrong.... But wasn't I pushing away from my family because I did not know how to deal with the pain in my past and wouldn't I need to deal with that pain and over come the hurt in order to feel safe enough to trust someone and love them. Didn't they have it backwards? Then I fell and injured my patella (in my knee) and was taken to the hospital. The hospital staff were so concerned at how unhealthy I looked and how unclean I was and by how bad I smelled ( due to not being aloud to properly take showers) that Canada's CPS was called. A staff of NHYM was able to reach me before the CPS worker arrived and told me that my life would be miserable the rest of the summer if I made one complaint to the CPS worker. I was forced to tell her that I was being obstinate to the rules and was refusing to clean myself and that I had done it for attention. The staff then told the CPS worker that they were addressing my disobedience. None of this was true. I had not refused to clean myself. I was then sent to Hymn's Dominican program Escuella Caribe. Here I was forced to run casitas which was a mountainous hill at a 55-60 degree angle. we were timed and if we didn't do it in time we started over. I have a disease called "Erythema Nodosum". This is much like lupus except that it usually attacks the legs. It causes huge sores and muscle pain. Your White blood cells begin to attack each other. At any point I suffered from this and yet they would not grant me leniency on running and exercise. Then there was Mr.. Brown, the leather paddle used to swats kids. There never was any set reason as to why it was used. You could be swatted for anything ranging from back talking to looking at something or something wrong. You were enforced to bend over and grab your ankles while your house father watched and were spanked. If you fell over or cried out you received additional swats. The most I received at one time was 11 swats because Phil Redwine hit me so hard I kept falling over. I was bruised for weeks. There is also a "QR" room which means quiet room where they put you for solitary confinement. We were placed there  in our underwear and bra if it applied and left there to scrub pots and pans until they were clean enough for approval. We were forced to machete fields of tall grass for 6-8 hours a day. And dig holes. There were times when the holes began to fill up with water due to rain and we still had to stand in them and dig. All this time my mother was given completely false facts about what was going on and I had the fear of swats from the program placed on me if I told her any different. I was even humiliated in front of my class  mates. I was sick with the runs and had asked my teacher if I could use the restroom. He refused. I could not help it but it poured out of me and I went in my pants (diarrhea). Instead of helping me I was yelled at and forced to wear them all day. He made me stand in front of the class and told the class that I had done it on purpose so that they would be miserable and that I was tiring to get out of doing my school work. I had to wear them for 4 or 5 more hours. After I got back to the house and cleaned up I received swats for insubordination, 3 casitas and was demoted to zero level. I also lost my free day and had to go to TKB house to work while my house got free day. I finally left the program August of 1997. I was a bitter, hurt and angry girl with no self esteem. My parents believed me to be a failure because the program told them I was. Although now,  9.5 years later, I am finally proud of who I am  working on a bachelors in criminal justice and engaged to a wonderful Christian man, and is it  thanks to New Horizons ? NO!! It's thanks to God and my two beautiful little boys. They showed me to love and trust. They taught me that I am not a bad person . New horizens did none of they only reinforced what I was taught as a 4yr old little girl being raped over and over again, that I was a nobody, nothing , a waist of time. I pray that this story helps someone else who is grieving and hurting. You are not alone. Jenny Littlejohn

 

 

SURVIVOR REPORT #4

I, Anonymous, declare and state as follows:

1.   New Horizons Youth Ministries

2.   Marion Indiana and Canada

3.   1981 to 1984

4.   I was a student at NHYM in Marion Indiana and Canada from 1981 to 1984. I seen and dealt with abuses there that a child in any normal home should not have to endure. I witnessed a married female staff member having sex with a student. When I brought it to Bud Teares attention the female and her husband were allowed to threaten me. I was then threatened if I contacted authorities. I was forced to stand in the middle of a circle of approx. 10 male students and allow them to beat the crap out of me while we wore boxing gloves. This was their idea of punishment. We were forced to clean our rooms only to have the house father or Budd Teare come in and destroy the entire house and we would have to do it again, and again. The abuse was not only physical but emotional. I did graduate from high school only because of fear of the repercussions if I failed anything in school. While in Canada we were forced to build cabins for them to house future students. I believe this is a form of child labor and if they had been forced to pay a company to come in and build these cabins, it would've cost them several thousands of dollars. If any parent had done these things to their child they would've found themselves in prison. It amazes me that Budd Teara now works for Indiana Wesleyan University. It is my personal belief that these facilities should be closed and the individuals that are running them should be investigated and prosecuted.


Thank you

Anonymous

 I give HEAL permission to use this statement.  I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.  Executed on June 2, 2009.

 

 

                                                                        ________________________________

                                                                        Anonymous [To contact the author, e-mail HEAL and we will forward your message.  No abusive or harassing

                                                                        messages will be forwarded.

                                                                        [PRIVATE]

                                                                        [PRIVATE]

                                                                        [PRIVATE]                                                                                                                                 

                                                                        [PRIVATE]

                                                                        SPECIAL NOTE:  STATUTE DOES

                                                                        NOT REQUIRE NOTARY]

 

 

If you were abused or had your rights violated at New Horizons Youth Ministries (any of their programs, U.S. or Abroad), please e-mail your personal testimonial to us so we may post it as a warning to others here.  E-mail us for details at: info@heal-online.org.  

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