“I expect to keep up my end of the bargain”
Erin was in the ninth grade and having problems with drugs, truancy and problems dealing with authority figures whether she was at school or at home. Erin says that when she came here she brought all of that attitude toward authority with her. She tried to hide that attitude a little in the beginning because she thought that if she acted “good” then she would get to go home sooner. It didn’t take her long to decide that the good act wasn’t getting her anywhere so she began letting her real values show through.
Erin got tired of hearing that she was making no progress. When her grandfather passed away she started to realize that she needed to make some changes because she was missing out on some important things by keeping herself away from home.
Seeing the changes in Erin, her father also decided that he needed to make some changes too. When Erin lived with him before she came to Arrowhead he had a drinking problem. He has worked on his own problem so that he can be a better parent to Erin. During her stay Erin was able to re-establish a relationship with her mother that had been nonexistent for a long time. She now has weekly contact with her mother. She plans to eventually live with her mother.
Erin says that there are a lot of people supporting her in the positive changes she has made. Family friends and the people who work here with her all have pushed for her to do well and she expects to keep up her end of the bargain.
“I knew I was headed in the wrong direction.”
James was a high school drop out at the age of 16. He was involved in the gangs in his home town. Because of the gang involvement, it was not uncommon to see him also involved in behaviors ranging from drugs and alcohol to shootings. “We thought we were cool, it fed our egos. We were encouraged to do the negative things.”
James ended up in detention for a gun charge and mob action. He was “jumped” and decided to retaliate with a group of his friends. One of them had a gun and someone was hurt. He was three months short of becoming 17. Once he turned 17, he was transferred to an adult jail. “Detention, jail, doesn’t change you. You play cards and sit around.”
James was evaluated for his appropriateness to Arrowhead and accepted. At first, he did not want to change his lifestyle, even though he knew it was taking him no where. But, he admitted he had no long term goals. He was resistive for the first three to four months. Eventually he came to realize that he could be positive and not only help himself, but the others who were in his group to become decent people. The peer group helped him learn that everyone is equal. They become accountable to one another, and learned personal responsibility. James has established many lasting friendships from his association with Arrowhead Ranch. James was able to go to school and graduate. “Arrowhead Ranch gave me direction, changed my attitude.”
James is now a sophomore in college at Western Illinois University in MaComb. He is studying to be a lawyer and wants to help juveniles like himself. Last year, he achieved a 3.5 grade point average. He was Big Brother of the Year in his area and has been a part of the college student government. He is able to meet financial obligations through a scholarship given to him by Arrowhead Ranch.
“I would be in prison until I was 21 if it weren’t for Arrowhead Ranch. I would be looking to the gang for protection. I would have been just another statistic!”
“I was trying to impress people, I had no real friends.”
Harry’s dad was a nuclear engineer who did a lot of moving around. Harry was not able to develop lasting relationships. He found himself trying to impress people and displayed attention seeking behavior that got him in trouble, including credit card fraud and drugs. He had no direction. He was in and out of detention, not thinking of his future. His family decided to place him at Arrowhead when he “hit bottom”.
When Harry first got to Arrowhead Ranch, he thought he could manipulate and scam his way through program. He tried to “con” his way out. He and his group members sometimes got on each other’s nerves, they embraced their similarities and learned to tolerate their differences. Over time, he began to develop relationships. He and his group members genuinely liked each other. They pointed each other’s problems out and began to work toward resolving them. Harry earned a positive release from Arrowhead Ranch in February of 1998.
Since his release from Arrowhead Ranch, Harry joined the Marines. He saw the parallels between the service and Arrowhead Ranch. He completed his active duty in April of this year. His plans are to go to college in industrial drafting. He is now married and has a son.
Harry feels Arrowhead Ranch helped him in a “big way”. “I was at the end of my rope. Coming to Arrowhead Ranch showed me you just have to be a decent human and every thing will fall into place.” His wife, Devon, feels they would not have been married if it weren’t for his stay at Arrowhead.”He got his life together.”
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