To the Staff at Liahona Academy:
Thank you for giving back our son! This has been a long & painful year for our entire family. We have seen such tremendous maturity and confidence in our son now that he is home. We are so thankful to the entire staff. The graduation held on November 10th for our son was a gift for us all.
Our family would like to be a part of the scholarship fund for kids who are not able to complete the program due to financial difficulties. We know how important it was for our son to be able to spend an entire year learning how to lead a healthy life.
Liahona Academy has an amazing team of people ready to care for your child. We saw first hand how much our son was cared for during his journey. Thank you does not begin to cover how grateful we are.
Robert & Heather C.
Student Testimonial/College Essay
At three in the morning, I was picked up by two men to be taken to a school in Virgin, Utah. This Transport Team was hired by my parents to bring me safely to Liahona Academy, a boarding school for teens who had veered off the beaten path. I was shocked, angry, and sad but after a few months, I realized it was the best thing for me. My time at Liahona has transformed me from a lost and angry teenager to one who excels and finds success in the real world in a healthy way.
I never imagined I would be sent to a place like Liahona Academy. What led my parents to make this decision was the result of increasing bad choices on my part. Hanging out with the wrong crowd led to skipping school, which led to bad grades, all of which, in turn led to tearing apart my family. Hd those two men no come for me that October night in 2013, I would have continued down that path of destruction, never knowing the successes I’ve had as a result of being sent to Liahona.
When I arrived in Utah, I was furious. Having entrenched myself with negative peers for so long, I thought my decisions at the time were normal. My parents thought differently, as did the staff at Liahona. I ultimately adapted to the intensive daily life structure, working in therapy groups to develop the tools to deal with negative influences, and mentally prepare myself for the outside world. I went from a person lacking academic motivation to someone who actually grew to enjoy school and find focus.
Programs like Liahona are successful; I am living proof of this. I do realize, however, that I was fortunate that my parents provided the emotional and financial support needed to allow me access to this type of school. There is an enormous divide in the United States preventing low-income students with similar struggles from accessing adequate help. In December 2012 The New York Times featured an article titles “For Poor, Leap to College often ends in a Hard fall,” detailing the evidence of this financial divide and how it threatens of the future of troubled teens.
The story of their lost footing is also the story of something larger - the growing role that education plays in preserving class divisions. “Everyone wants to think of education as an equalizer - the place where upward mobility gets started,” said Greg J. Duncan, an economist at the University of California, Irvine. “But on virtually every measure we have, the gaps between high- and low-income kids are widening. It’s very disheartening.”
Liahona has started an Educational fund to help provide less affluent students with the financial support they need to attend. I see this as a small glimmer of hope in affecting the socioeconomic divide.
Testimonial from Kenny C. Guinn
"I recommend Liahona Academy and Clay AhQuin to any parent struggling with a troubled teen. They are honest and sincerely concerned about the boys in their program. The staff are the most compassionate and caring people. Thank you for everything you did!"
-Kenny C. Guinn
Former Governor of Nevada
"I just would like to say thank you so much for making me a better person and stronger than before… it is easy to say "no" to things now… I was able to tell those three people (old friends) that since they smoke, I won’t be hanging out with them any more because they can influence me and mess me up. Thank you so much for building up my work ethics, now my parents give me some chores, and it’s sooo easy and I do it right away."
"My relationship with my family has changed. I do not argue anymore. If anything, I try to just listen to my parents. I eat at home now, sounds funny but in the past, I was never home to eat dinner. I also talk with my parents more now."
"I told my friends that I went to a place that really cleaned me up and they were like, "did it work?" I told them that I was really glad I went there, a place that helped me save my life, that changed me, that showed me to care about my family more than ever. I love you guys’ man!!! And I mean it soooo much!"
"When my parents were thinking about sending me away I know they may have been sad. They may have felt sorry, they did not want to send me away. But they knew in their heart that if they did not do something to help me out, no one would. My parents had the assurance that my life was in good hands, and knew that you guys’ would shape their son into the man that they were looking for, for all those years."
"It feels great to be strong. My mom’s proud of me, personally, the credit goes to you guys’."
ALWAYS your student!!! ALWAYS a Liahona Boy!!!
- Evan - from California
"I have been doing great. The relationship with my parents is totally different. They trust me and are willing to do so much for me."
"I have found many new friends and yes a new girlfriend who is helping me stay strong and giving me total encouragement on my new life."
"I gave your phone number to a friend who is going through some bad things, and told them to talk to you guys’ because you guys’ changed my life and I believe you could do the same for them. Speaking of friends, I miss all of you guys’ so much!"
"I want to say thank you for everything you have done. I have my life back on track and I am starting college in January. Thank you for everything you have done for me, I owe you my life."
Mike - from Georgia
"If it was change we wanted, it was sure change we got. The wonders of it all pass all reasonable expression." "This is a person we have never known. Each of these past years we have lost more and more of Winston from 13, 14, 15, 16 – he had continued down a path we were oblivious of."
"Now we were with a young man that we knew from a long ago past. One I might have dreamed of, but never knew could exist for me or my wife as a young adult. We cried a lot. Some silent tears, some open and warm. We kissed and hugged over and over for days."
"Who could have thought it possible? We were fragmented and fully disconnected. We could no longer trust him or his actions or decisions while at home alone."
"Today is hopeful beyond words. Our son is clear headed and clear eyed. There is no stopping his warmth or his love. He asks for no excuses only forgiveness. He wants only to achieve more, continue on his path, to not only be better now, but prepare himself for his life to come." "His respect is genuine, his needs are real." "We will be interwoven with you and our own emotions for years and years to come. My wife and I are so thrilled to be with the son we knew was lost and now is found." "Thanks for all the love you’ve given and time you’ve spent with Winston. You are remembered every time that boy smiles. Thanks for the gift of your friendship and the gift of my son back to me. You have my lifelong love and respect."
Father of Winston - from Florida
"It is not an easy decision for a parent to place a child in someone else’s care and custody. After conducting two weeks of personal research, I chose Liahona as the best facility for my son’s needs."
"I was very impressed at the progress that Nick has made while in your care, but more over at your staffs approach to treatment of his needs. Without the individual commitment of each of your staff members, Nick would not be in the position that he is today."
"I feel that it was of utmost importance that he was given the opportunity to learn the skills, as it is vital to his ability to continue the behavior that has made his progress successful. Had I placed him in a facility that did not share the same approach in developing these skills, I feel Nick would not have made such progress.""Thanks again for your staff and ensuring that my decision to place Nick at Liahona was the right one."
Mother of Nick - from Tennessee
"I sent my son to Liahona Academy, feeling as though I had done all could to help him, failing miserably. It was difficult realizing mommy can’t fix everything. My son was in trouble with the law, the school and I weren’t pleased with the choices he was making."
"My inquiry was met with empathy and support. Upon reviewing the different choices, I quickly chose Liahona Academy, for the following reasons:
1) it was an all boy school, 2) the program runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 3) the location was distant from the bad influences, and 4) with my son being cared for properly, I could sleep (something a parent with a troubled teenager rarely does).
I have seen significant progress with my son, his letters have improved (the writing, content, and spelling), he’s reading, and most of all, he’s developing a positive self-image. I feel like I have my son back. He’s happier than he’s been in years.
I wholeheartedly recommend Liahona Academy to anyone who has a troubled teen. The staff has been wonderful.
Mother of Jimmy - from Texas