|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on June 27, 2021 at 4:15 AM||comments ()|
The facility has a long history. First Texas, then Montana when the authorities in Texas took interest in the facility. Some years ago they moved to Missouri when Montana look at new legislation which would mean that the place would under supervision from the authorities.
Hello, my name is Jordan Harrell. After reading a lot of the posts on this forum (both about the Anchor Academy and other homes) i decided i would try and share my experiences and what did/has happened and what is happening to me today because of it. I wanna start off to say that i was never a perfect teen. As nobody ever is. I never did drugs, never drank, never experimented with weird things or got into obsessive amounts of trouble. With that being said, here is what i learned.
I was at the Anchor Academy from January of 2003 to June of 2005 when i graduated high school. I will touch on that first and for most. While you do get to accelerate at school if you so choose, there has been one hamper on my life from their school. They use the ACE packets, and as such, they ARE NOT accredited. Some people may not realize what this means, but to me, it means a great deal. I found out after graduation that when i try to apply to A LOT of schools, they require that i have a state accredited diploma. So, because i do not have one of those, i had to get a GED. Not a massive deal, but not one of the more pleasant experiences. A lot of years of high school that didn't really amount to much in the end. I am not saying im some kind of genius, not saying anything like that...just stating the facts from my point of view anyways.
Upon arriving at the Anchor, i had every personal belonging i had ever owned stripped from me. They took my wallet, my pictures, my friends phone numbers, everything. Literally. Not a big deal, but then as a 15 year old kid it seemed a big deal at the time. I was given a hair cut (which i must say was needed) and set up with a guide. Let me get right down to the good stuff. The Anchor had multiple levels of "leadership" and "communication" levels. I will start with leadership.
1. Leadership: The basics of leadership at the anchor were pretty straight forward, its a tier based system, the higher your "rank" the more privileges/responsibilities/"power" you were given. When you first arrive there, you are placed under someone called a "guide" and you are his "student". As a student, here are the basics of your rules to follow as far as the "guide" is concerned. You MUST stay withing 5 feet of your guide at all times, this is a 24/7 policy. If you go outside of the 5 foot radius, you can be given "complaints" (a point system for keeping track of the bad things you do, the more complaints you get, the more trouble you are in.) If he doesn't like what you are saying, your guide is allowed to put you on silence whenever he sees fit. While on silence you are not allowed to talk without raising your hand. If you do, you get more complaints. You MUST follow whatever instructions your guide tells you to. For example. One of my first guides i ever had once told me to go stand over by my bunk. Just so happens, my bunk was more than 5 feet away from him. Upon arriving at my bunk, my guide told me that i was more than 5 feet from him, so i got complaints for it. When i asked why i was getting complaints for doing what i was told, he gave me more complaints for talking without raising my hand (i had been put on silence). After that, he told me to bend over and put my nose on the bunk. In this position, you must keep your legs straight, and bend over to put your nose on something. Try it with a table for instance. After standing in that position for long enough, it will bring tears to even the strongest of people. After getting off orientation (students, which could take anywhere from 3+ months, 3 months was usually the minimum) you were promoted to what was called a "single". As a single, you were put into a crew (will explain a few) and given free roam of the area within certain limitations (which there were plenty of). If you did well as a single, you were promoted to a guide. I wont go further into that since i have already explained. If you continued to do well ( and were an admitted christian might i add...i will go into more of that later too) you were promoted "maybe" to a crew leader. A crew leader had the same basic function as a guide, except he was in charge of 5-8 singles, guides, and students. He had the same authority over every member of his crew, and also every persons in the anchor who were a lower rank than him. He could put a guides nose on something if he so choose, give out complaints as he saw fit (didn't need to be justified, nobody every justified most the complaints). So you can think of him as a "guide" for 5-8 students. I am skipping a lot of the deeper detail, i can go into that later if anyone requests it. There were usually 5-8 crew leaders or more at any give time. Alot of people to watch out for...just on that tier alone. Next you had a dorm leader. Dorm leaders were in charge of the entire dorm, usually 50+ students. They had all the power that crew leaders have, only they had it over crew leaders as well. Pretty self explanatory. After that came the staff, doesn't need much explanation on that one.
2. Communication Levels: There were a total of 6 communication levels. I will start from the bottom. If you did something really bad, you were placed on "super separation". While on super separation, you were not allowed to talk to ANYONE but your crew leader, the dorm leader, and staff. If you did, you got complaints. If you LOOKED (yes i mean looked, like with your eyes) at anyone other than those people, you were given complaints. Alot of complaints too might i add. Do you have any idea how hard it is to not LOOK at someone? I mean you cant even acknowledge their existence. If they talked, you cant respond, if they told a joke, you cant laugh, nothing, without getting complaints. Next in line was "separation". Same basic principles as super separation, only you could talk to all crew leaders, instead of your own. After separation came orientation student. Same basic principle as separation, except you could talk to any "number 1's" that you wanted to, and your guide, regardless of his communication level. Anyone else that you looked at or talked to, you got complaints. Oh and by the way, if you talked to someone you weren't allowed to, you got swats. With a paddle. They had two wooden paddles. One was smaller named smiley, the other was significantly larger named Proverbs. By the way, this goes without saying i would think, but when kids were getting swats with those, you could hear them all the way on the other side of the dorm. After orientation student came a single. Pretty much the same communication levels as a student, just didnt have to follow someone around all the time. After that was a "number 2". They were allowed to talk to everyone who was a level 2 and above. So if you were a level 2, you could talk to all level 2's and all level 1's. If you talked to or looked at anyone not of those ranks, you had the same punishment as the lower ranks. And last was a "number 1". They were allowed to talk to everyone, with the exception of separation/super separation, unless they were a crew leader.
Now, for the punishment section of this page. Please understand, that while i did not have most of these things done to me, i was around it more times than i would have ever have liked, and i was sometimes put in charge of seeing these punishments executed. The one everyone remembers most is probably peanut butter sandwiches and water. If you did something wrong, as far as school or whatever a staff felt was appropriate, they put you on peanut butter. That was nothing but a peanut butter sandwich (TERRIBLE might i add, you had to choke it down, it was not jiffy peanut butter) and water. You could be put on that for as long as the staff so desired. Which could be months. I can name people, names i will remember forever, who were on peanut butter sandwiches for months. I remember one boy was on it for 6 months straight. He started gagging whenever he tried to eat, so whatever he didn't eat ( he was required to eat 2 each meal) they put them in a plastic bag which he carried around until he ate them all. I can remember him having 15+ sandwiches in that bag. It was disgusting to see. Red shirt was another one that everyone feared. For good reason too. I remember one boy who was on redshirt for over 2 months. You only get 1 red shirt, and 1 pair of pants, which you have to wear all day and all night, every night. They get washed once a week, if i remember right. You did pt (physical training) around the clock. You slept for about 3 hours a night. This is where a part of me goes out to every boy who was ever on this. You usually got put on this for running away, although i remember one boy got put on it for cheating in school and just being a little bit more rebellious than they liked. They tied your feat together with rope, and made you carry a broom over your head everywhere you went. You had to hop around. You stood at the end of your bed with your nose up against your bed while everyone else slept, you ran laps a lot, we are talking like 10 miles a day of laps. They made you dig holes with a spoon, while standing up. You had to bend over and dig the hole while keeping a straight leg. I remember that while one boy on redshirt was doing this, the staff members fed his peanut butter sandwiches to the dog in front of his face, so he didn't get to eat that meal. They would make you dig those holes with spoons, fill them back up with your spoon, and then dig a new a hole, over and over. I remember one boy ran away once ( granted he stole a car to get away...makes you wonder why he wanted to get away so bad) and when they caught him, they tied a rope around his waist, and dragged him around like a dog for...what...2 months? There are alot of things i could say about punishments, but i would keep you reading for hours. If you want to know more, please by all means, let me know. I wonder if anyone who reads this from the anchor remembers the foxy five, or "brother willy's" weekend duty. Or his morning PT. I would love to see that.
The work ethic was valuable. I will say that. They taught you how to work. Granted, in today's world it would be considered slave labor, considering you never got payed for it, even though they often did. Have you picked rocks out of a field for 12+ hours in the blistering heat with people riding you about getting it done faster. There were very few breaks, and very little compassion, and zero money. In the 2.5 years i was there, i never saw a dime. Even though generally you worked for at least 4 hours a day, except, wednesday and Sunday (cause of church). I had to dig trenches, tear down buildings, lay piping, build cabinets, mow lawns, sand blast, and every sort of general cleaning you can think of. I am not saying the work experience wasn't valuable, but you never saw a reward for your effort outside of calloused hands and a sense of accomplishment.
The food, so long as you were not on peanut butter, was very good. They certainly did a good job with food. They kept your bellies full, with a wide variety of courses. The lady staff members did a wonderful job cooking.
There were no fences, there were no guards, you were free to run. Only you were 35 miles from the closest town. And if they caught you, which they ALWAYS did, you got put on redshirt. If you didnt die to the elements in the process.
To touch on now a days, the anchor certainly holds a spot in my memory, it always will. Still to this day i have nightmares about going back there, about the things i went through, and the things i saw others go through. I was rarely in alot of trouble there, i tried to steer clear of it, but i was often around others getting into it. I saw things that would make parents cry. Still to this day i feel terribly guilty about not trying to do more. I have this feeling like i should be trying to help those kids, be trying to get them out of there, but i dont know what to do. I could talk for hours about the struggles young men go through while there. Even while writing this there is a pain in my heart that goes out to all those kids who are sent there. Im not saying some of those young men don't need someone to take them by the hand and lead them in the right direction, but i dont think that this boys home goes about it in the right way. Interesting enough, some people will read this and try to say that i am lying, try to say that i dont know what i am talking about. I dare someone to say that to my nightmares, tell it to the hundreds of boys who have gone through there and now have some sort of anxiety problems. "tough love" is only effective when the person its being done to, knows it is out of love, not when they are so terrified to do anything different they conform out of fear.
And on a last note, religious beliefs set aside, the Anchor Academy for Boys DOES force their religion and their beliefs on you. If you do not believe like them, then you will never gain rank, you will never be treated with respect. The staff there only want you to believe as they do. There is no such thing as a Mormon or Catholic there. If you get caught thinking like that, or trying to follow another religion, or trying to speak about what you believe, the punishments are severe. As bad as what i have listed above. Please, for your children, do not force religion down their throat. From personal experience, it will only make things much worse.
Well, i will end it there, i could keep writing for days, very literally, and fill up pages and pages of information, but most people dont want to read it. This is my attempt to tell the world about what happened to me and what i saw. Take it as you will, there it is. Thank you for reading. Sorry for any typo's, i got kinda emotional writing some of this. The pain is still very real, even 5 years after the fact.
Source on Fornits: (Link)
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on December 5, 2020 at 5:50 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was located on Google Maps (Source)
I attended this academy 4 years ago.
Some of the staff is very encouraging and sweet, however this program is a complete and total waste of time and money. The pictures that are online are an inaccurate description of what your daughter's next year of her life will be like. While yes, there are horses at the facility, there is no horseback riding or anything of the sort.
My education has always been very important to me, yet when I left this school I was so far behind. I had to retake classes in high school, and my Algebra credit was not valid in public school. I feel that a former student's thoughts on this program is very important and indeed valid. The only thing that Wings of Faith Academy gave to me that helped me when I went home was fear of going back as is a very depressing environment. I benefited much more from learning from life experiences now that I look back. I am grateful for my family's intentions, however this is not the right place for any young girl looking for guidance.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on October 24, 2020 at 4:40 AM||comments ()|
This year the police raided the Circle of Hope Girls ranch. Investigation is ongoing but the girls who were at the ranch have been removed. The politicians have recognized the need for legislation.
Civil lawsuits allege rape, severe abuse at Circle of Hope Girls Ranch in Cedar County (News-Leader)
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on October 21, 2020 at 6:45 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Google Maps (Source)
I am a former student of Wings of Faith. This is not the place to send your child. I was there because of family issues, and a way to get me out of them. I did not deserve to go through this program, and no one does. These reviews have to be fake. There is no reason any child should go through this.
Debbie Martin, your not right. Legally you may be, but there is nothing in that caged house that could possibly be close. This is not a good place, and not even a school at all. Don't make this an option for your child. They do so many weird things, and trick you into thinking it's right. If you want to hear more of the truth; this place used to be called "Refuge of Grace" look that up before clicking here. She changed the name, and website into a wings of faith lie. God is not a tool for punishment, and neither is this lock down facility to human life. It makes me sick to think of this place. Hope this will take it out of your thoughts.
The facility used according to various sources to go under the name Refuge of Grace but was rebranded due to poor reviews on the Internet
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on July 11, 2020 at 1:05 AM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Yelp
THIS PLACE IS FUCKING INSANE. First of all the people who work here are so mean like everyday they wake you up by yelling " get up." no love here. Second of all this place does not work on your mental stability, when my daughter was there not once did they ask how she was doing or counsel her in any form. All they do when your upset is say god can fix it when we all know that not true.
Also when I was going to pick up my daughter, Debbie was very hesitant and wanted her to stay so she could get more money. This environment is very hostile for children and will not better their behavior, if anything it makes them more depressed and feel like dying. My daughter wanted to die the whole time she was so sad. Also,their website and video gives extremely false info and is a total lie. Also is not at all what the place is like, in fact, they show the nearby campus of Agape, claiming it to be theirs.
My daughter felt violated when the first thing they did was strip her down and make sure she didn't have anything on her. My daughter has shared tons of stories about this place that did not make me happy which is apart of the reason I pulled her out early. The staff members are only there for the money, they couldn't care less about the girls. So, if your considering sending your daughter here just know you'll be making the biggest mistake in your life. Its way overpriced and not worth any penny.So I beg of you. DON'T SEND YOUR CHILD HERE.THANKS.ITS A SHIT FACTORY.
The facility used to go under the name "City of Refuge" but was renamed Wings of Faith Academy in order to avoid bad press.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on July 4, 2020 at 5:05 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Yelp
Please whatever you do, do not send your daughter here. Many parents may say yes send your daughter here its the best place possible, but sadly it is not. Yes, i am a former student and i can say from experience this is not the place you want to send your child.
I was woken up at 3am being taken out of my bed by people i had never seen in my life, i was then put in handcuffs and shoved into a car to be taken 12 hours away from my home. I was so panicked and had no idea what was going on, they would not allow me to call my parents. I was promised a phone call as soon as i arrived to the school. I was then taken into the bathroom with the owner - Debbie Martin - and she then told me that i was not allowed to talk to my parents until i was there for a month and that i would be living there for a year or longer. I immediately broke down in tears, not to mention this woman was not sympathetic at all. She then told me i needed to take off all my clothes so she could check to see if i had anything on me.
That was just the beginning. I was terrified, i had no idea where i was or why i was even there. My parents are not together and had a custody agreement at the time, my mom was never notified as to where i was. The whole time i was at WOF i was told by the staff and Mrs. Debbie that my mom wanted nothing to do with me, come to find out that was all a lie. My mom looked for me that whole time i was gone and nobody would tell her where i was. These people made me feel like i was nothing, like if i didnt live by their standards that i was going straight to hell. We were taught to be housekeepers and thats all we were good for. We were never allowed to speak our minds or ever tell anybody how we were feeling. If you didnt have something to say about the bible then you were expected to keep your mouth quiet.
This place is a 24/7 lock down facility, which is not mentioned anywhere on their website. Your never allowed to be by yourself and somebody is always watching you. We were barely ever allowed to go outside and if we did it was maybe twice a month or to get on the bus to go to church. This place is not the place you want to send your daughter, so please dont. So many of the girls that i talk to suffer from depression, anxiety, and even ptsd. One of my close friends sadly passed away from a drug overdose after leaving this school. They make you feel like your nothing if you dont follow their rules and biblical standards, it makes you question every little detail about your life. Also, the schooling that they offer is not accepted in many states. I had no credits for my junior year of high school that would transfer, and i had to work very very hard to get through my senior year with the many credits that wouldnt transfer over.
So please please before you think about sending your daughter here, just read this and take my word as a former student. This place needs to be shut down, not have more students to put down on. I would never wish on a single person to be put through what my friends and i have been put through. Just please dont let this be your last resort for your daughter. Thank you.
The facility used to go under the name "City of Refuge" but was renamed Wings of Faith Academy in order to avoid bad press.
|Posted by Roland R. Hansen on June 28, 2020 at 4:55 PM||comments ()|
This testimony was found on Yelp
Do not send your kids here, almost ruined my life. Very physically and mentally abusive. I'm now a sophomore at the University of Missouri. Thank God I got out of there when I did or I'd probably be living on the streets.
I gained a significant amount of weight while I was there due to the constant anxiety and depression I was was battling with. I remember at times becoming very suicidal (never in my life before I was there had I had thoughts like that). I contemplated purposely breaking a bone or cracking my head open just so I could go to the hospital to get help from someone. I was taken in the middle of the night, hand cuffed, and told I was going to a camp for a week. I didn't get to say goodbye to anyone, my mom just watched as this strange man pulled me out of my room in my underwear. I tried to run away my third day there and got caught in a barbed wire fence. I had many deep lacerations on my hands, back, and legs. I was denied even a band aid. I still have one of the scars on my thigh (i will insert a picture). After I tried to run away I was put on discipline and not allowed to talk to others, eat as much food as others, or drink as much water as others. I remember dreaming about food every night, I was starving.
This also affected my schoolwork, as I was to spend most of my time writing and memorizing scripture, INSTEAD of schoolwork. Not that it mattered anyway.. they placed me in classes 2 grades below what I was supposed to be in and at the end of my 6 months there, only 2 of them transferred back to my regular high school. Our "teachers" weren't even qualified to teach!! One worked at Walmart previously and the other didn't even graduate high school! My acne medication and ADHD medication were taken away. They didn't give me a reason for doing so. They strip searched and humiliated me when I arrived. They forced us to do manual labor for free (mucking horse stalls, yard work, mopping up flooded rooms). They made me do jumping jacks for 3 hours once for losing my pen (they thought I was hiding it to use as a weapon). I had all of my sports bras taken away for sharing with a girl who's mom didn't give enough of a shit to send her any.
There was an 8 YEAR OLD GIRL there for no reason. Her parents literally just didn't want her. She is still there, and I'm sure they still haven't come to visit her or sent her a birthday present. (i got out in 2017, so this will be her 4th year there. Child services needs to come get this girl. Her name is Alicia Levy. They had us fake a photoshoot and pretend to have fun so they could update their website photos. I'll insert a picture of me, Alicia, and another one of my friends pretending to bake. (we never got to cook while there, except once on Christmas.) They made us take pictures pretending to play volleyball and ride horses. We didn't ride horses, we didn't play sports, we hardly even got to go outside. They preached heavily against being gay and forced their strict religious views onto us.
This "school" used to be called Refuge of Grace and had to switch locations because of child abuse allegations. My mom lied to the school and told them my dad was out of the picture, when really he was working in another country. When he found out where I was he immediately came to get me. They tried to convince him to keep me there and tried to make him sign an agreement that in any case of injury, illness or even DEATH that they would not be held accountable. LMAOOO. I witnessed girls constantly crying, self harming, going through withdrawals, crying out for help, and none of them were given the proper care or attention they deserved. THIS PLACE MAKES "REBELLIOUS" TEENS WORSE. I smoked weed a few times. I drank at parties. WHO THE FUCK DIDN'T WHEN THEY WERE KIDS??? If you send your child here, you are supporting child abuse. I hope no one has to feel as unimportant, ugly, stupid, worthless and helpless as I did while I was there.
FUCK WINGS OF FAITH. I am an intelligent, beautiful, kind, brave, selfless woman. And they had no part in that.
I hope someone found this helpful!
The facility was renamed Wings of Faith Academy in order to avoid bad press.