“We All Had Our Part in the Healing”

Terri Scardino suffered the all too common experience of being the child of an alcoholic parent. By the time she was an adult, she had lost both a brother and a nephew to suicide. She was determined not to succumb to alcoholism or addiction herself, so when her son, Giovanni, fell to drug addiction, Terri was heartbroken.

Terri and her husband were also struggling in their marriage at that time, and she found it hard to know how to deal with all the chaos and usher her family to health. A friend of hers told her about Shelterwood, so they decided to try it out.

“When Shelterwood came along, we had no place else to send Giovanni when he got into trouble. We just continued muddling through as well as we could,” Terri said.

That “muddling through” was the first step to a life-changing experience — certainly for Terri’s son, but also for herself.  

One of the words Terri uses most to describe Shelterwood’s approach is “holistic.” She means it not only helped Giovanni to look at all aspects of his life in order to make a sustainable change, but it helped her and her husband, too.

“[Shelterwood] approached the healing process from a whole family perspective,” Terri said. “We all got involved and had our part in the healing.”

The support from Shelterwood crossed over into Terri and her husband’s life, too, and they spent time working on themselves as individuals and as a couple.

“As parents, we often do our children a huge disservice by trying to make them believe that we have all the answers,” Terri explained. “Pride gets in the way for parents often, and it’s hard to really show up for them the way you want to. So we had a lot of growing ourselves to do in the program.”

Shelterwood also helped Giovanni grow in his faith, encouraging him to find his value and worth in his faith, not in external things. “Giovanni just kept on trusting and had faith, and his faith got stronger, and he leaned into Jesus for his needs.”

Giovanni graduated from Shelterwood in 2012. He graduated from college in 2017 and has since found all sorts of success, from participating in summer internships and international missions to pursuing a license in commercial real estate.

Thinking back to when Giovanni went to Shelterwood in 2012, Terri says. “it was heart-wrenching to send her son away from their home for eight months, but in retrospect, she knows it was the best decision her family could have made.”

“Eight months is such a short time and it goes so fast,” Terri said. “To parents, the time commitment may seem daunting at first, but the outcome over that short period is life-changing and so worth it. When we run into these crossroads, we must let our kids draft behind a trusted partner and allow them to find their own way through.”

We provided the resource of [sending Giovanni to] Shelterwood, but it was up to him to embrace it, work through it, struggle through it, own it and grow through it.” There were times when the struggle was real and intense and he didn’t want believe this was where he belonged. After about  two months at Shelterwood, he embraced it, and now says he would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

And so would she, but thanks to Shelterwood, she won’t have to.

Take the first step for hope, real heart change and real restoration for your teen. Reach out today: 866.585.8939.

Meet Teri Hansen

Teri Hansen, Human Resources Director, loves putting her HR acumen to work to help the Shelterwood team. Meet Teri.

Teri Hansen sw 1021x1024 Meet Teri Hansen

What Teri loves most about Shelterwood: For Teri, everything at Shelterwood is about the restoration. “Our holistic goal of restoring families is so important to me, and we do this with both a clinical and faith-based approach,” she says.

When she was a teen: I was 17 going on 50!” Teri laughs. “I could not wait to be a grown-up and I enjoy being a grown-up so much more than I ever enjoyed being a teen.” She does cherish her longtime friendships from her teenage years, though. “I still have some friends today who I have had since kindergarten.”

Her Midwest move: Teri is originally from San Diego, California. When it was time for a move, she and her family conducted a thorough cross-country search. “It started with a spreadsheet and we looked at different places across the country. We looked at factors like the size of the city, what percent of households that were families, the quality of the school district, even the number of librarians per student!” They honed in on Blue Springs, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City near Shelterwood. The research paid off: “We love it here!” she says.

What brought her to Shelterwood: Teri brings nearly 15 years of experience in human resources management. She initially became connected through John Lawrence, Shelterwood principal, and Jane Lawrence, Registrar, who she met through volunteering in their children’s competitive marching band. Then, late last year, Teri lost her young nephew to a heroin overdose. “I do not want to see another family go through what we went through. I am a 100% believer in the Shelterwood program.”

A mentor to the staff: Teri says her job is similar to that of the Shelterwood young adult mentors, also called big brothers and big sisters. “I am like a ‘big’ to the staff. I help them with their challenges, their needs, anything from benefits to staffing,” she explains. “I love my job here!”

The Shelterwood setting: Even the environment at Shelterwood is conducive to helping teens on their healing journey, Teri says. “This is such a peaceful place. We are nestled in the beautiful forest here, and it is living proof that God is all around us. It is easy to feel grateful for this environment.”

Family: Teri is married to Randy, who is the residential director at the guys’ house at Shelterwood. They have been married for 25 years and they have two sons, Trevor and Braden. “Trevor is on the autism spectrum, so we know what it can be like to raise a child with challenges,” she says.

Outside work: She enjoys cooking, sewing and scrapbooking. Together with Randy, she enjoys road trips, dancing and being part of the Blue Springs community. “We like to enjoy the little things in life!” she smiles. Their son Braden is a sophomore in college at Northwest Missouri State University and is the proud “voice of the Bearcat Marching Band,” so the family also enjoys supporting the marching band.

Best part of her role at Shelterwood: “I am truly fortunate to work with some amazing people, and I like helping our staff,” Teri says. “I have been really welcomed into the Shelterwood community.”

Shelterwood Executive Director appointed as NATSAP Best Practices Chairperson

All of us at Shelterwood are committed to serving our students with excellence. The latest in our ongoing dedication is the appointment of Shelterwood Executive Program Director, Rujon Morrison, as Chairperson of the NATSAP Best Practices Committee. The committee reviews NATSAP Best Practice Guidelines for continuing relevance and handles concerns about programs, plus makes recommendations to the NATSAP Board. In this national leadership role, Rujon leads her team in guiding fellow member organizations towards exceptional service for teens and their families.

NATSAP, the National Association for Therapeutic Schools and Programs, is a national resource for programs and professionals assisting young people, teens and young adults. From residential treatment and wilderness therapy to long-term and transitional care, NATSAP organizations share a dedication to serving children, teens or young adults. NATSAP is governed by an elected volunteer board of NATSAP members.

Rujon 683x1024 Shelterwood Executive Director appointed as NATSAP Best Practices Chairperson

After serving on NATSAP’s Best Practices committee for two years, Rujon was tapped to become the committee Chairperson. “Receiving an appointment of this nature is exciting.  It is an honor to serve NATSAP in this way,” Rujon says. “I love our involvement with NATSAP — the challenges, the conversations and the growth that can happen through it all. I am humbled to be the Chairperson of the Best Practices Committee.”

As Chairperson, Rujon leads the committee, facilitates meetings, communicates with members and is a liaison to the greater NATSAP board. Her committee also serves as a consulting group when a NATSAP member may need advising on ethical practices and principles. “Having served on the committee, I was very excited about this new role because it is a way to stay sharp and stay on top of the best practices in our industry,” Rujon continues. “Best practices will always be a relevant and excellent topic.”

This appointment is meaningful for Shelterwood holistically as well. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Shelterwood,” she says. “In addition to taking on an even higher level of involvement, we are being recognized by NATSAP as a program doing cutting-edge things and really serving our teens well.”

Rujon’s appointment as Chairperson is only the latest in our ongoing commitment to exceptional work at Shelterwood. “Excellence is vital to our work here, and best practices create that important structure,” she says. “Best practices are not static, they are dynamic. We need to always be proactive in our pursuit of excellence.”

“I am proud of life after Shelterwood.”

For Gio Scardino, high school was a time of pain and struggle. After hitting one of his lowest moments, Gio found real redemption at Shelterwood — and he graduated having found the true fulfillment he was searching for all along. Gio shares his story:


My priorities were off when entering high school. I was focused on fitting in and living a life for myself. I was desperately trying to fill a void that unbeknownst to me could only be fulfilled through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. In efforts to fill this void, I pursued “the popular life.” Enrolled at a high school where the students were inflicted with affluence, temptation was ever-present. It did not take long before I was headed on a downward and ugly path. Poor decisions of drinking, partying, and smoking (marijuana) quickly transitioned into daily poor habits.

In a year and a half timeframe (sophomore year to second semester of junior year) my life spun out of control. I had successfully filled my life with things that held no true value. Running with the “popular crowd” led me into a life of smoking regularly, heavily dealing marijuana, drinking alcohol/partying, drug-related suspensions, police tickets/arrests, and severe car accidents. As if that wasn’t enough, a three-month drug investigation ensued at my high school. On the very last day of the drug investigation I was escorted out of class by the Dean of Students, rather than Security. This was the ultimate breaking point in my journey of self-destruction. In the Dean’s office I was informed that the school and local municipalities had subpoenaed my phone, dating back one year, obtaining full access to personal phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media. They had discovered an ugly track record of substance abuse, and I was immediately given a ten-day out of school suspension with a recommendation of expulsion.

In desperate need of help, my parents loved me when I did not deserve to be loved. They proceeded to do what few parents would have the courage to do; they sought out a specialized growth opportunity for me to begin making genuine change in my life. God exceedingly answered my parent’s prayer by presenting us with the incredible opportunity of Shelterwood located in Independence, Missouri. God used Shelterwood to transform our story. When entering Shelterwood I could not have been less interested in enrollment, but I was in a place in my life where I needed healthy influences and people to make positive decisions for me. At Shelterwood I faced some of the most difficult hardships ever, but with the help of God, my parents, the Shelterwood community, and through hard work, my life began to change for the better. I reflected on my many wrong doings and began understanding just how serious the pain I had inflicted upon others and myself. I had always believed in God, but it was at Shelterwood where I developed a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. Shelterwood will always be remembered by my family and me, as it was used in such a powerful way to refocus us all on what God had intended for our lives.


SW Testimonial Giovanni S. I am proud of life after Shelterwood.

I graduated from Shelterwood on October 25, 2012, and returned to Chicago. Shortly thereafter I graduated from my original high school. My parents and I never thought that me crossing the high school graduation line would have ever been an act of God, but it turned out to be exactly that. Since Shelterwood, God has gifted me with opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. I have been able to serve with mission teams in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Nadi, Fiji. I embarked upon a yearlong discipleship program, known as the Kanakuk Link Year, where I focused on growing in relationship with God and developing meaningful friendships. Following Link Year, I transferred to North Park University. Currently, I am in my senior year and plan to graduate in May 2017 with a B.S. in Business Management. Intermittently throughout Link Year and North Park, I have been actively involved with the National Student Leadership Forum (NSLF) and the National Prayer Breakfast (NPB) in Washington, D.C. where I have had the privilege of leading many friends to be part of such meaningful gatherings. I have pursued the industry of Commercial Real Estate for four years now and have been privileged to work four different internships spanning three major metropolitan cities, Chicago, Dallas, and Washington, D.C. Above all, since Shelterwood, my focus has been learning how to walk with Jesus Christ daily, develop meaningful relationships, and love people well.


Shelterwood Performing Arts: Life Lessons on and off Stage

When Shelterwood students participate in the performing arts, the show itself is only the beginning. Performing arts offer students opportunities for real transformation, and many students experienced that during the recent fall play.

This season, Shelterwood students performed the first-ever fall play, Body, Body. “The play is about a high school girl, Madeline, who thinks she is fat,” explains Kyle Anderson, Shelterwood Performing Arts Coordinator. Other characters in the play are Madeline’s body parts, personified. “These body parts bring back painful moments from her past,” Kyle shares.

“The play is a raw story, and very real. Although it deals with body image, the issues the play deals with are more far-reaching.” Other topics included body image, pressure to be perfect, peer acceptance, eating disorders, self-confidence, self-acceptance and more.

IMG 0979 683x1024 Shelterwood Performing Arts: Life Lessons on and off Stage

At the end of the play, Madeline breaks free from these negative messages and decides she wants to be the one in charge of where her life is going. With its relatable themes and meaningful messages, the play offered a platform for Shelterwood students to process through issues they face in their own hearts. “The story does not hide from emotion, bringing some real issues to the table,” Kyle explains. “It was easy for students to get into the story because it was relatable.”

Participating in the play was a turning point for some Shelterwood students, Kyle recalls. The night before the performance brought more than just dress rehearsal jitters, so Kyle paused the practice so students could process their emotions. “As we started talking, several students said they felt unqualified to perform the play, because they were still struggling with some of the messages,” Kyle said. “It was a time of honesty and peer encouragement. They grew closer and learned they do not have to live under those strongholds anymore.”

IMG 0947 1024x683 Shelterwood Performing Arts: Life Lessons on and off Stage

Ten Shelterwood students — seven actors and three backstage — participated in the play. The performance was a campus-wide event, with all students and staff in attendance. “Having the whole Shelterwood community supporting them was very encouraging,” Kyle says. “The students had worked very hard and got positive feedback from everyone who watched the show.”

Performing arts experiences at Shelterwood are designed to teach students lessons that last far beyond the performance, including the value of work well done, the importance of collaboration and the joy of trying new things.

“One of our goals for Shelterwood performing arts is to give students the opportunity to gather with their peers and accomplish something they never would have accomplished on their own. Students get to practice that healthy team dynamic, when they come together, work together, push through challenges and develop that sense of community pride in what they accomplished,” Kyle says.

IMG 1011 1024x682 Shelterwood Performing Arts: Life Lessons on and off Stage

Students at Shelterwood have many pathways to participate in the performing arts, from live plays to video projects and musical opportunities. They are able to build their work ethic and recognize the good fruit that results from hard work. “These students realized that hard work is a good thing,” Kyle adds. “The play was not perfect, but they succeeded. This is a life lesson they will take with them long after they leave Shelterwood.”

Perhaps the greatest gain is in their self-confidence. “It can be scary to perform in front of others, but through the process of preparing and practicing, a lightbulb goes off, and students realize, ‘I can do this! I can be successful!’”

“There is a special kind of confidence that results from working hard and being successful,” Kyle says. “Students walk around campus a little taller, and they are at peace because they are proud of what they have accomplished. When they start believing in their ability, they start to believe in themselves.”

How we Manage By Strengths at Shelterwood

Mercedes Benz, Delta Airlines, The American Red Cross, Garmin, Hallmark . . . and Shelterwood. What we share with these leading organizations is our commitment to Management by Strengths, a transformational tool in fostering better communication than ever.

Management by Strengths (MBS) is similar to other temperament protocols, like the Myers-Briggs and the DISC assessments. Its focus on strengths, however, sets it apart from others. The extensive list of MBS clients includes national nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies.

“MBS is different from personality tests and assessments because it is based on the simple idea that people are biologically wired with a communication style they prefer,” explains Jeremy Lotz, Director of Training and Leadership at Shelterwood. MBS features four temperament traits — directness, extroversion, pace and structure — but limitless combinations. “Personality can be informed by your faith, education and integrity, but temperament is hard-wired.”

Jim Subers, Shelterwood CEO, was introduced to Management by Strengths creator and owner Mike Postlewait through a friend. “Mike was overcome with conviction about what Shelterwood does and our vision for restoring families through Christian relationships,” Jeremy says. “Mike felt such a conviction that he decided to make MBS services and consultation available to Shelterwood for free, forever.” This act of generosity has paid dividends for Shelterwood staff, teens and parents.

Girls house 2 1024x683 How we Manage By Strengths at Shelterwood

Jeremy points to a clear example of how MBS has changed interactions with Shelterwood students. “It’s common for adults to face power struggles with teenagers. If you know that student’s temperament, however, you can quickly develop a disarming approach with that teenager,” he explains.

“We have found through MBS that many of our students who seem oppositional and volatile are actually results-driven and independent. These are real strengths, and understanding them influences how we communicate,” Jeremy says. “Teens who are very direct in their temperament want choice, freedom and autonomy,” he says. For example, those teens can be empowered by tying responsibility to results and offering choices.

MBS has been equally significant in enhancing how Shelterwood staff work with each other. “This has given us many revelations regarding how people want to be engaged with, and it has allowed us to get the best out of ourselves and others,” Jeremy says. “When we are working well as a team, then we are serving our students better than ever.”

Furthermore, when Shelterwood parents take the MBS assessment, the results can influence how teens and parents interact. “We tend to have quite a few students with the directness and extroversion temperaments, and quite a few parents with pace and structure temperaments,” Jeremy says. “One of the ways I’ve seen MBS help teenagers the most is that they develop an understanding of their parents’ temperaments. This increases the harmony in their relationships.”

Jeremy shares a recent example of how a teen’s understanding of her parents’ temperaments helped her better interact with her parents. “She is high in extroversion and her parents were high in structure. They experienced her as being intense and pressuring. So when she was planning a recent visit home, she presented her parents with a prioritized list of the top three things she wanted to do back home. This showcased so much maturity.”

MBS is one more Shelterwood distinctive, influencing how we help transform teens and restore families. “There are quite a few theoretical foundations, philosophies and behavioral techniques we employ at Shelterwood, but nothing has revolutionized how we work on a daily basis like MBS,” he says.

Why we go to Haiti

Each day at Shelterwood focuses on restoration for our students — but sometimes, the greatest transformation for Shelterwood students happens off campus. Sometimes, the biggest paradigm shift occurs on our Shelterwood mission trip to an orphanage in Haiti.

“I’ve seen our students come alive on this trip,” says Jim Subers, Shelterwood CEO. “Our kids are giving 110% to love and serve Haitian orphans. This is a unique mission trip unlike anything these kids have done before and what happens in this dramatic act of love is transformative for our kids and the orphans.”

This spring marked the ninth trip Shelterwood has taken to Haiti, in partnership with The Global Orphan Project. “We use domestic and foreign mission trips, as well as special retreats, as an opportunity to go after the hearts of our kids. Changing their environment and getting them out of the normal, day-to-day routine is an opportunity for their hearts to be impacted.”

haiti collage 1024x1024 Why we go to Haiti

With the average student spending 11 months at Shelterwood, the twice-yearly Haiti trips provide a unique opportunity for each young person who chooses to go. As they serve and love these orphans, they receive love too. “Our kids experience unconditional love from these orphans,” Jim says. “It is beautiful.”

The goal of the trip is to love the Haitian orphans, spending time with them and playing with them. Jim points to a Bible verse in Matthew 25 — whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me. “When we love on orphans in a very real way, we are loving Jesus,” Jim says. Sharing this love has a life-changing impact on Shelterwood students.

The median income in the United States is $50,000 a year — and that income level represents the top 5% of the world’s population, Jim always explains to Shelterwood students. “When they arrive in Haiti, they’re immediately confronted with this reality. Students begin to reflect on what living in the United States really means, and what responsibilities they have along with this opportunity and privilege.”

The week long trip begins on a Wednesday, with students returning to the United States the following Tuesday. Each day concludes with the group processing the day’s events. “Students get to practice giving a word of encouragement and affirming each other every night. Our kids get to bless one another every day, and this is a highlight of our trip.

On Sunday, students attend a Haitian church service. “We get to watch another culture worship with fervor in what would be oppressive conditions for us in America — no air conditioning, high humidity, flies, hot temperatures. This causes our kids to really reflect . . . these people have nothing, but they are full of joy.”

The group spends their last day seaside, allowing students to experience the contrast in the beauty of the Haitian beach. Monday is the day that students have the opportunity to be baptized. Jim estimates that, over the course of Shelterwood’s nine trips, 50 students have been baptized. Nine students — including Jim’s own son — were baptized on this recent trip.

haiti collage 2 1024x341 Why we go to Haiti

“We want to provide the opportunity for young people to have a paradigm shift in their thinking. Many of our students don’t realize how uniquely blessed and privileged they are,” Jim says. “When they go to Haiti, our students come back with a much deeper appreciation for the choices, experiences and opportunities they have. This trip shows students who they are, who they want to be and how very loved they are.”

Students showcase creativity at the Sheltie Awards

Shelterwood students have many opportunities throughout the year to practice performing arts, but the most exciting occasion is the annual Shelterwood Film Festival. Nicknamed “The Shelties,” it is a festive evening of celebration and creativity.

Staff and students alike look forward to this special event, which features both student-created videos and live performances. Everyone dresses up, enjoys a special dinner and takes pictures. This year’s Sheltie Awards were the first to take place in Shelterwood’s new chapel.

“The thing I love most about the Shelties is the way it brings people together to showcase and celebrate the work our students have been doing,” says Kyle Anderson, Performing Arts Coordinator. “The energy of the night is high, and there is plenty of cheering and support.”

Shelties Collage 1024x1024 Students showcase creativity at the Sheltie Awards

Every performance receives an award. This year’s categories, inspired by those at the Oscar Awards, included Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Musical, Best Editing and Best Overall Picture.

“This is a chance for students to release their creative juices a bit,” says Kyle. “It is a showcase of what we’ve been working on the past few months.”

No two films are the same. Some students take a light-hearted approach, with compilation-style videos. “We had lots of laughs this year!” Kyle says. Another group of students created a film inspired by the 48-Hour Film Project, with a required character, a required line of dialogue and a required prompt, but total freedom otherwise. Some videos were more dramatic, ranging from adventure to poetry.

“Students gain a new sense of confidence from showcasing their work,” Kyle explains. A small choir from his performing arts class sang the song Glory, from the film Selma. “Many of them were nervous to perform live, but there is a different confidence in their faces, their bodies and their posture. Great confidence comes from people being proud of their work.”

Students sometimes use creative arts as a way to process their past or work through issues they’re struggling with now. One student wrote a song about an especially difficult experience and performed it live at this year’s Shelties. “It was a beautiful and well-written song, and it talked about both real hurt and real hope,” Kyle explains. “It was such a moving performance and she found real closure in this.”

One student wanted to share his Indian heritage by creating a Bollywood-style video, complete with a choreographed group number. “He had a big vision and wanted to get many people involved,” says Daniel Schlenker, Activities and Volunteer Coordinator. When the student arrived at Shelterwood, he struggled to relate to his peers and work with other students.

On the day he filmed the video, however, 15 students arrived, enthusiastic to participate. It was an inclusive experience for this student, and he practiced overcoming social challenges in the process. “I could tell on the day it was shown that he had a lot of pride in the outcome of the video,” Daniel says.

Beyond the creative experience, the filmmaking process is an opportunity for students to build their relational and leadership skills. In filmmaking, students initiate a project and see it to fruition. As they share and receive feedback, they read social cues and learn to compromise. Collaboration with a team helps students relate to their peers. They practice taking responsibility for their actions. When the project is complete, students learn to take pride in their work.

“Students develop responsibility and gain the ability to dream, cast vision and imagine grander things,” Kyle says. “It’s all preparation for the real world.”

The New Shelterwood Chapel

Located in Independence, Missouri, our campus sits on 200 acres of beautiful forest and rolling hills. State arborists have said “the property contains the most beautiful stand of old growth timber in the four county area.” Once used as a YMCA camp, Shelterwood Academy is a new, state-of-the-art facility for teen residential care. Our picturesque campus features outdoor sports courts, wilderness trails, a swimming pool, gymnasium, weight room, soccer field, a school building, dormitories, including the newly opened Richard Beach Lodge, gardens and staff offices.  We are pleased to announce the newest addition to our campus, the Shelterwood Chapel.

“We are constantly looking for ways to strengthen how we serve our teens and their families, both with improvements in our programs and in our facilities,” says Jim Subers, CEO. The last missing piece, from a facilities standpoint, was a chapel. “Three years of planning and prayers went into this building,” Subers says. “And we couldn’t have done it without the commitment of many of our Shelterwood family alumni. The chapel was funded exclusively by former Shelterwood families, and there are hundreds of written prayers and blessings on the walls. As the building neared completion, alumni families and current Shelterwood parents were invited to write prayers of blessing and scripture all over the walls of the chapel prior to the drywall installation and painting.”

IMG 8989 The New Shelterwood Chapel

“In the past, seating large groups was only possible in our school gymnasium or in the common areas at the boys’ and girls’ lodges. The new chapel has provided us with a dedicated space for gatherings, and we can now seat 200 people comfortably, which more than doubles our capacity to host groups,” Subers says.  In addition to the chapel, there are two smaller, fireside meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 20 people These rooms can be used for parent groups and periodic mini-retreats that we call Family Intensives.. The new building also houses some administrative offices, which had been located in the boys’ lodge, freeing up additional residential space for our new Transitions program. Finally, the chapel basement has a lounge specifically designed for our young adult mentors. This dedicated lounge area is equipped with sofas, TVs, a pool table and small kitchen. “ an area dedicated exclusively for our young adult staff to refresh, recoup and recharge. It’s been a real highlight.”

A signature feature to the chapel’s design is the huge wood trusses, hewn from Oregon  Douglas Fir . Below these trusses, large picture windows overlook our scenic valley. The sound system, designed for Shelterwood’s growing performance arts and music program, is also state-of-the-art.

While the building is ideal for our larger group events, like Parent Weekends and graduations, we use it weekly for chapel services. Chapel is a highlight in our week at Shelterwood. These gatherings give us a time to celebrate individual student’s accomplishments, which helps unify our community and inspire our teens.

The typical chapel service starts with a welcome from a Big Brother or Big Sister, and then continues with our weekly awards — Student of the Week, the Bounceback of the Week and the Shelter Star of the Week. Next we celebrate with a time of worship, sometimes led by one of the Bigs and sometimes led by willing teens.  The service closes with a different speaker each week. The speaker is often a special guest or local pastor to offer inspiration and encouragement. “We try to expose the kids to a wide cross-section of voices who can speak truth and encouragement into their hearts. We find speakers who are particularly gifted in communicating to teens,” Subers says.  Previous guests have included Joe White and Shay Robbins of Kanakuk Kamps, missionary and popular speaker, Gracia Burnham, and authors Todd Burpo, “Heaven is for Real,”  Rod Handley, “Character that Counts, “ Annie Lobert, “Fallen” and Dr. Ken Canfield, “The Heart of a Father.”

“Ultimately, this Chapel gives us yet another tool in our toolbox to use to go after the hearts of these teens. We have already seen our chapel used for healing and transformation in the lives of our students, and that makes it pretty special.”

Summer at Shelterwood: A time of transformation

Summer can be a great time for positive change in the life of a teenager. Under the right circumstances, and given the right combination of positive experiences, we have seen many young people take great steps forward. However, without organized, positive activities, and the framework of the school year, the summer months can often be a vulnerable time for teens.

That is why we at Shelterwood have designed a special summer program for teens who might be struggling at home, or struggling with poor choices during the summer months.

We work to provide a safe and structured summer for teens, combining activity, adventure, therapeutic intervention and stimulating education. Students leave Shelterwood’s program renewed and restored — and ready for their best year yet.

Limited spots are available. Teens can start as early as June 1. Contact our admissions team today to start the application process.

Academic Recovery

Students can earn nearly a semester’s worth of class credit during the summer in our award-winning boarding school. Teens who are academically behind can catch up and get back on track — and advanced students can retake classes to bolster their GPA. Time at Shelterwood Academy means they’re ready to re-enter school with confidence.

ShelterwoodMentor 300x200 Summer at Shelterwood: A time of transformation


Because no two teens are the same, our licensed therapists work with an interdisciplinary team to create an individualized program for each student at Shelterwood. Students engage in individual therapy with a personal therapist, plus group therapy and family therapy. Our clinical team is trained in a variety of modalities that include CBT, Art therapy, Equine therapy, Sand Tray therapy, Play therapy, Attachment, Substance Abuse and Addiction, and Family systems. To maximize impact, all activities at Shelterwood are designed to be therapeutically strategic. We use recreation, adventure, art, gardening, music and performing arts to help students uncover issues, build relationships and provide clarity for moving forward in life.

Is your teen struggling with substance abuse? Our rigorous substance abuse treatment program combines educational, therapy and experiential elements to lay the foundation students need for a sober, healthy life.

Students experience substance abuse treatment concurrently with the summer program, so they’re growing and healing holistically.

If your child is wrestling with substance abuse, Shelterwood can lay groundwork for a life of joy and sobriety.

IMG 1043 1024x683 Summer at Shelterwood: A time of transformation


At Shelterwood, our service opportunities help teens move beyond lack of empathy. Teens serve in a variety of environments, from food banks to nonprofit thrift stores, shelters and even the Christmas tree farm near our property. They learn to give back, grow as leaders and make a difference in the lives of others.

Personal Growth

Summer at Shelterwood is full of adventure. Teens try new things and build confidence — from music and art classes  to gardening and fly fishing and everything in between. Students uncover giftedness they didn’t know they had, or have their strengths reaffirmed. For struggling teens, Shelterwood is a place where they can learn to laugh again, to engage again and to connect with peers in a way that’s healthy and fun.

A Foundation of Faith

During Summer at Shelterwood, the stage is set for heart transformation. From inspirational chapel services to optional spiritual retreats, our faith-based approach gives students opportunities to grow. Our young adult mentors offer life-on-life discipleship. Teens learn that they are important, they are valued and they are loved by Christ.

Summer at Shelterwood is a place where struggling teens can find real hope and real restoration. Students get the best in therapeutic counseling and boarding school excellence — all in a residential community of people committed to their growth. Let this summer be a fresh start for your teen and for your family. Limited spots are available, and teens can start as early as June 1. Contact our admissions team today to enroll your child.