About Our Boarding School
Teen girls who are enrolled in Columbus Girls Academy mostly come from loving and caring families whom have exhausted every option in their search for help for their daughter. Parents have usually tried counseling, medication, location changes at school and at home, mental health approaches, and social service interventions. When a parent has exhausted all other options, that is when they make the call for help to a therapeutic boarding school, like Columbus Girl’s Academy.
Our students consistently have had a history of being bright and talented girls; however, as a result of destructive choices all of these wonderful attributes have been compromised. 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 them down the wrong path. Destructive choices are often associated with a negative peer group.
Some of the precipitating factors of such a 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
- • Bullying
- • Change in economic status or move to a new home and school
- • Chronic illness of a loved one
- • Rape
- • Gang membership
- • Excessive exposure to pornography
- • Huffing, drug, alcohol, or prescription drug use
- • Negative peer influences
Students who enter our program exhibit issues and behaviors such as:
- • Low self-esteem
- • Rebellion/Anger/Defiance
- • Depression/Suicidal thoughts
- • Deceitfulness/Cheating/Theft
- • Manipulation
- • Promiscuity
- • Drug experimentation
- • Alcohol or prescription drug abuse
- • Self-harm
Many times, prior to choosing a Christian Therapeutic Boarding School, parents have sought help from psychiatry and the use of medication. At CGA, we work to gradually ween girls off of psychotropic drugs, with the help of a physician. Some students who come to our program have been previously diagnosed with behavioral or psychological disorders such as:
- • ADHD
- • ADD
- • Oppositional Defiance Disorder(ODD)
- • Bipolar
- • Reactive Attachment Disorder(RAD)
- • Depression
Typical progression of a student:
When a student comes to Columbus Girls Academy it is typical for there to be blame-shifting, avoidance of responsibility, and sometimes complete denial of wrong doing. Soon after enrollment the student begins to experience some regret for the consequences of her prior behavior. Essentially, she is “sorry” for being caught in her behavior but has yet to experience a turning away from her old sinful desires. This may be very similar to the ups and downs that parents have experienced at home, promises to change, periods of peace, that cycle back to crisis. Regret does not change individuals, repentance does.
Many times, teens have been spared the heartache of the full-blown consequences for their negative decisions. This is because at this age they are only beginning 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 teens have been protected from the full consequences of their decisions by well intending adults. For these reasons, teens are not always entirely certain of the need for change in their lives. However, the parent is convinced of this need for life changing intervention. At Columbus Girls Academy we consider ourselves an early intervention program, intervening in adolescents’ lives before they become an adult trapped in a dysfunctional lifestyle.
Here at CGA we have cultivated a positive peer culture. Students are encouraged to be responsible for their own actions and to hold others accountable for their actions. This positive peer element is a part of the Teen Challenge dynamic. Students influence other students positively as opposed to the negative peer pressure that so many of our students face before coming to Teen Challenge. As a student comes into our program and demonstrates obedience, she begins to recognize and reap the benefits that come with obedience.
Teen Challenge provides a safe haven for adolescents who have sought to fill the void in their hearts, only to reap destructive consequences in its place. Our program provides an opportunity for each student to refocus and assess her life decisions and allows her the opportunity to choose the abundant life Christ has to offer. In the process, the student is taught indispensable lessons of strong work ethics, team work, patience, diligence, determination, communication, submission and motivation, to name a few.
The following are some of the signs that mark the marvelous transformation that we see take place in our students’ lives:
- • Reconciliation with God and Family
- • Acknowledgement of past wrongs, accepting responsibility and seeking forgiveness
- • True confidence in the unique individual they are
- • Academic improvements
- • Gifts and talents begin to excel again
- • Becomes a positive influence on others
- • Speaks the truth and makes the truth known
- • Submits to authority
- • Begins to have a vision for a positive future
- • A joyful and peaceful disposition.