Graduate Testimonies

“Things are going well for me since I left the Lodge. I remember being nervous about leaving the Lodge as I developed relationships with staff and felt successful in school and with my family for the first time in a long time. I realized that life does continue after the Lodge and that there are also many more challenges that I am learning to deal with more effectively. I have learned that the Lodge wasn’t just an obstacle that I had to overcome, it was a learning experience that is helping me overcome harder and more challenging obstacles now and in the future.”

“As I’ve been writing college supplements in recent months, I’ve been answering various forms of the same question: ‘What makes you who you are?’ Much of the time I focus on who I am in the present, but every time I think about my development I think back to Forest Heights Lodge and how staff helped me be the person I could be. I still don’t know how, but I walked into the Lodge as one person and walked out as someone else and I have you to thank for that. I’m not quite done with high school (currently a senior), but so far I’ve been able to succeed in school and create close friendships in a way that I never thought was possible. I remember hearing that only alumni realize the importance of the Lodge, and that couldn’t be more true; I want you to know that what you do has a profound effect on people’s lives, even if it’s not immediately apparent.”

“I just want to take a second and realize that this is really happening. Before I came to the Lodge, I had some problems at home. I would not go to school and I could not behave at home. My parents, the great people they are found the Lodge. They were just trying to find a community to  help me and my family’s problems, but they didn’t just find a community, they found me a family. I want to say thank you to Linda, Jody and all  the staff and kids. You were all an important part of my life here at the Lodge. I also want to thank my parents. If they didn’t bring me here I would never have enough courage to sit here today and feel good about myself during this speech. I want to apologize for times I might have  hurt your feelings. The Lodge didn’t just help me with my problems, they game me HOPE and that is what I want to give back to all of you. This  speech is for saying good bye, but mostly it is saying how you guys affect my life for the better and changed me into the man I am today. What I want to say more than anything is Thank you. Thank you to all of you- my friends, family and the staff. You are all amazing people and I believe in you like you believed in me.”

“Before I came here, I wouldn’t do my homework and I took my feelings out on my parents and brother, but the Lodge has helped me learn how to control my feelings and to believe in myself in school. One of my favorite memories being at the Lodge is when I first came here and everyone was so nice. I felt like I belonged for the first time in a long time. I would like thank parents for sending me here for some help. Good bye and good luck!”

“The Lodge is a place for personal growth. It is like the wilderness in that, it is a place to heal, but not to stay. It may seem like you will be here a while, but remember; you will be graduating eventually, and it is how you use your time at the Lodge that will ultimately determine your future.”

“I was there in 1989. I’m married with a daughter and another one on the way. I thank you all for giving me the time of my life and the building blocks to be able to deal with all of life’s obstacles.”