Sunday, February 8, 2015

Unknown at Youth Foundation Success Academy

This testimony was given by an unknown teenager as a comment to an article about this program. All rights goes to the original author.

I graduated the Riverview summer program last month, and all I can say about these kinds of facilities is that they are the worst place that a child could ever imagine being.

Clearly made evident by the comments made by Connie (her lack of knowledge of syntax, punctuation, incorrect use of words, etc.), the staff (including the director, Chaffin Pullan, whose letter full of errors [meant to be a professional, sent out to every single client of their company] is shown above in Connie’s first comment) was nothing less than unqualified. They were uneducated, at best, and ignorant of any kind of decent treatment of human beings.

Youth Foundations is a private prison for teenagers. As some of you may know, private prisons have very little regulation. Because they are not funded by tax dollars, fewer laws apply to them. While I was in the program, we ate three very small meals a day. Not only were these meals not nearly enough to keep us full, but they also lacked any kind of nutritional value. We ate only carbs and fat and very small amounts of meat and VERY LITTLE vegetable selection. I lost ten pounds while here and I had hunger pains every day. My skin and hair became very oily because of the high fat intake.

Most staff was insensitive, to say the least. I once saw a staff threaten to beat up a student in front of about 20 other people– none of whom reported anything (out of what I’m assuming is fear of punishment if no one believed them). The summer program was given physical punishments, burpees (military push ups), for standard rule breaking. I often saw very unfair distribution of burpees, and unwarranted distribution of burpees (mainly to– what I’m assuming was to– maintain the power over the students). A room full of approximately

50 students heard a testimony of about 5 people against one student raping another, and other students being involved in watching out for staff (to avoid being caught). The student who raped (who also had continually verbally sexually harrassed many of the girls) the other boy was only given the punishment of being sent to “the other side”– the program that doesn’t do hikes/ “fun” activities. There was no evidence of the victim’s parents being notified.

Not only was the treatment of the students by staff and other students absolutely deplorable, but the facility was also filthy. I arrived at the camp in a musty smelling building (that may have mold or asbestos– it’s a fairly old building), and shortly after wa shown to my room which had a pretty filthy shower. The dorm rooms and halls had stains all over them. The students rarely washed their hands– most of them were filthy. I once saw a student who was serving lunch stick her finger in her nose, eat what she had on her finger, and continue serving without even flinching. The lunch room employees were not the only bad thing about the lunch room, but the lunch room also had a rotten egg stench (probably from a gas leak in the stove) and bathrooms which realeased a very pungent odor of waste (this bathroom was right next to the kitche, they actually share a wall). I had heard very legitimate tesimonies of the physical abuse of students.

The ex-board member, Jade, had been asked to leave because of embezzlement of funds meant to be for the students (for activities, food, etc.). Toward the end of my stay, we began to be followed (on all of our activities that were away from the facility) by someone who we were told was the owner of the facility (that the facility was only rented from this man by Youth Foundations), but I don’t know if this was true. Our parents were never notified of the stalker. The therapists had no more qualification to diagnose any kind of disorders than did our parents. They threw around disorders to convince our parents that we needed to stay there longer. They gave ridiculous rules “just because” (to maintain the illusion of authority/ order). Many students witnessed Chaffin Pullan calling many of the girls “sluts” and similar names. The staff frequently manipulateed our parents into thinking that we were doing “fun” activities to help build character, but most of the time, we only watched movies near our dorms. The staff promised unreasonable things to our parents that NEVER happened. This place is disorganized, suspicious, and immoral.

The academy was later shut down. An employee was sentenced to 120 days in jail for sharing photos of himself naked to the students.


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