Girls who enroll at Columbus Girls Academy come from loving and caring families whom have exhausted every option in their search for help for their daughter. When a parent has tried all other options such as counseling, medication, location changes at school and at home, mental health approaches, and social service interventions, they find themselves in search of serious interventive help.
Our students are often gifted and have great potential; however, often as a result of recent destructive choices, they have lost sight of the benefits of their current endeavors and have lost a purpose and calling in their life. Where there was once excelling grades, there are failing grades. Where there were once athletic, artistic or musical abilities, there is a loss of interest. The young girl that always looked to her parents for direction, love, approval and acceptance, now looks to her peers to fulfill those needs and is willing to follow wherever that path may lead.
Some of the precipitating factors of such a negative change in a teenager’s heart may include:
- Death of a parent or loved one
- Early abuse (apparent or hidden)
- Family split
- An absent or abusive parent
- Blended family
- Change in economic status or move to a new home and school
- Chronic illness of a loved one
- Gang involvement
- Excessive exposure to pornography
- Huffing, drug, alcohol, or prescription drug use
- Negative peer influences.
Students who enter our program often exhibit issues and behaviors such as:
- Low self-esteem
- Depression/Suicidal thoughts
- Drug experimentation
- Alcohol or prescription drug abuse
- Risky online behavior
Some of our students have been previously diagnosed with behavioral or psychological disorders such as:
- Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD)
- Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
As teens, our students have only begun to experiment with behaviors that would later in life render them completely hopeless and unfulfilled in every area of their life; emotionally, academically, physically, and spiritually. In some cases, the girls have been protected from the full consequences of their decisions by well intending and loving adults. For these reasons, the girls are not always entirely certain of the need for change in their lives. However, the family has become convinced of a need for life changing intervention and a separation from the environment and peers that may have been facilitating such behaviors. Columbus Girls Academy is an early intervention program, intervening before the girls become adults, trapped in a dysfunctional lifestyle.
When a student comes to Columbus Girls Academy it is typical for there to be blame-shifting, avoidance of responsibility, and complete denial of wrong-doing. Soon after enrollment the girls will begin to experience regret for the consequences of her prior behavior and how it has impacted her family. Essentially, she is “sorry” for being caught in her behavior but has yet to experience deep heartfelt change, nor a positive lifestyle to replace the negative one. This may be very similar to the ups and downs — the roller-coaster — that parents have experienced at home: promise to change, a period of peace, then back to bad behavior and crisis. Regret does not change individuals, repentance and a long term focus on positive living does. Change that is permanent is a long distance race, not a sprint, which is why our program is 15 months long.