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For those who are insisting that this school is a good idea, a loving and Christian place, and that the problem is all with the "horrible, messed up children" not being "appreciative of the chance they're given" and other such crap that people spout-- SHUT UP!! I lived there in the youth program for over 2 years, and while there are a few wonderful Christian families, the majority of the leadership is all stuck up, holier-than-thou fakes.
Before going to Heartland, I was a A-B only student, a good kid, my hobbies were drawing and reading, and I had never had any interest in drugs or alcohol. But I did suffer from some serious depression after major bullying in jr high, and my parents thought that this place could help me get better.
Wanting to take me off my meds and surround me with loving Christian people was a great idea--if only that had been the case. Unfortunately, a lot of the staff there doesn't really care about the kids. I've heard female staff tell the girls "If your parents cared about you, they'd have taken you out by now!" and "you wouldn't be here if you didn't have problems!" and other such demeaning, horrible things. It's not a very encouraging environment, to say the least. There are, of course, a handful of very sweet people who really want to help the girls, but there's only so much they can do without getting in trouble.
Want to know what's funny? I was there when Maiah's mom took her out of the program. I remember that. We were very happy that someone had parents who cared enough to listen to our pleas. When my friends tried to save up money and start a website to get me out of heartland, I was treated like a criminal for 2 weeks. They took away my part-time job (where I had been working for a year) and my teacher's aid position which I had been doing for 5 months. They interrogated me and acted as if I had done something horrible, even though all I had said on my friends' site was "please pray for the leadership cuz they need help."
Finally, before they kicked me out, here are some of the things Charlie, the founder, and his wife, Laurie, had to say to me about me: "Without Heartland, you would not have the grades you have! You would probably be dead, or on drugs, or in jail, or pregnant!" "You don't deserve the mission's trip we sent you on! you deceived the other girls into thinking you're a good example, a Christian, but you're not! the devil masquerades as an angel of light!" "you started an anime cult in my school!" (because i drew pictures for girls? because i liked to design outfits? at one point they confiscated a year's worth of sketches and threw them away, without asking at all!) Does this sound like someone who loves children and wants to help hurting teens? Does this sound like someone who can admit their wrongs and try to improve for the better of everyone? NO, it sounds like a selfish person who insists that they are doing God's work: "Look what I'VE done for God!"
At that moment, I knew that they did not love the kids in the program or make any point of getting to know them. They did not care about us or want us to be happy; they wanted to brag about what GREAT THINGS they were doing FOR GOD, using God as an excuse to do what they wanted. And you know, i'm a fairly strong person emotionally, so I really didn't care that they said these kinds of things to me. I mean, it hurts a little, when you think someone is a Godly person and cares about you, then turns around and acts like this.
But you wanna know what really hurt? Knowing that I was leaving behind some very vulnerable girls, as young as 12, in the hands of such people. Girls who had messed up family lives, girls who's step-mothers had forced their fathers to send them away(at least 2), girls who had been adopted from Russia and then abandoned here in the middle of a cornfield, never visited more than once or twice a year (I knew 3 for sure). The sad part is that we really weren't the horrible insane druggies they portray at all