“I truly wish that 90% of the teens who I talk to in America would come to Shelterwood for a year. This is not a punishment — this is an opportunity. . . . This is a gift that I wish more teens got.”

— Jessie Minassian, leading author, speaker and creator of LifeLoveAndGod.com, on why she is proud to recommend Shelterwood

This fall, author and speaker Jessie Minassian visited Shelterwood for a weekend intensive with teens, challenging students to not see Shelterwood as a punishment, but as the opportunity of a lifetime.

“This is a perfect opportunity for kids to get away from the demands and pressures of their life. Shelterwood is a perfect environment to ask questions and reflect on their life — where has it gone so far, and where do they want their life to go?” Jessie says. “It is the right place to make the changes they need to make. This is why Shelterwood sees so much transformation take place.”

For more than 10 years, Jessie has been writing and speaking to teen girls and has a passion to see young women grow in God. Especially after the release of my book Unashamed, I wanted to provide resources for teens who were coming clean about their struggles for the first time. That is how I began learning about residential treatment centers and where students can go to get a re-start.”

Shelterwood President Jim Subers invited Jessie to Shelterwood after hearing her speak on Focus on the Family. Jessie began her time on campus with an evening focused on the teen girls. “It was a great time and the girls asked the best questions. It was the liveliest Q-and-A I’ve ever done!” Jessie says. “A lot of them are hurting very deeply, but it was clear they knew Shelterwood is an environment where they can ask those hard questions.” The next day, Jessie was the featured speaker during the weekly Shelterwood Chapel.

Jessie Minassian presents to students at Shelterwood Therapeutic Boarding School

“So many ministries think that if you just pray a little harder or just stop being so stubborn, things will work out — but there is so much pain these students are facing, and Shelterwood is a place that is unparalleled in how they care for students therapeutically and spiritually. Shelterwood does a wonderful job of balancing cutting-edge clinical care with spiritual truth.”

The men and women serving Shelterwood students also made a mark on Jessie. “I was so impressed with the leadership at Shelterwood,” she says. “Everyone here cares deeply about the students and they truly have teens’ best interests at heart. As a parent myself, you want to know that these adults are going to take care of them and care for their hearts. From the leadership at the top down to the mentors and staff, everyone is empathetic and caring.”

This is the hardest time in history to be a teenager, Jessie says. “Some challenges are universal, like the struggle to fit in and the pressure to feel wanted by your peers, but all of these difficulties are amplified by this digital age, and teens are feeling the pressure of that. Teens are facing so many pressures and temptations that our grandparents wouldn’t have dreamed of,” she explains.

“My heart goes out to any parent considering Shelterwood. This is a fresh start for you and for your child. Your child will grow and change in ways that will probably surprise you,” she shares. “Shelterwood is such a unique combination of really excellent therapeutic treatment, but also that strong commitment to ministry.”