This testimony about Hearlight Ministries was found on Judy's book. All rights goes to the original author
I was sent to Heartlight over 10 years ago.
It helped me to stop stereotyping people, and I formed life long friendships with both residents and staff.
When I arrived, I was so angry, I wouldn't even look at my parents. When I left, I was cheery and outgoing. I came back home after 15 months and made new friends which led to my joining a garage band. This angered my parents who have always considered my passion for singing a waste of time.
They claimed I was using drugs, which was unfounded and untrue. They made the decision to send me back to Heartlight after only being home for 3 months. Mark Gregston decided to be my counselor for my 2nd time there. I was back for 2 months and in that time, I saw him once. He cancelled all the other sessions. I was eventually kicked out for trying to runaway. A couple of months later, my first roommate died. Being adopted, then sent away twice, hurt so much more than it helped.
To this day my parents and I have a very strained relationship and most of it is because of Heartlight. Oh, and I went to jail twice for weed after my Heartlight stay. I didn't even smoke before I went to Heartlight either time. I was very close with my first roommate and the marijuana had a lot to do with numbing the pain I felt from her absence. Every single person I was at Heartlight with has expressed the same view. It hurts more than helps.
I truely believe when Gregston first started this, it was to help people. Now, the other residents I lived with and even some of the staff I'm still in touch with believe this is all about the money for him. Want proof? He named a cabin after my friend Caroline who passed away (and who was also sent to the program twice), then changed the name after someone who donated a ton of money to the organization. Also, if the parents aren't willing to take part and heal themselves, this program has no chance in working. If drugs are involved, this place will not help whatsoever. They do not follow a 12 step program.
Since it was founded Heartlight Ministries has been the focus of a number of campaigns where relatives and friends try to get teenagers released. Also a number of teenagers have tried to escape. Punishment reported includes being forced to wear orange jumpsuits like prison inmates.