The local news media has raised questions about how Agapé operates and our standard of care. Rather than asking us directly, the reporters gleaned their information from some past residents who had created a negative social media site designed to hurt Agapé. They never spoke to any of our current students, staff, or parents, nor visited our campus.
For the discerning parent, we offer these insights in regard to some of the accusations that were made by these boys, many of whom spent just a short time at Agapé.
Agapé was founded by a former California State Trooper and his wife, who saw how badly troubled boys are typically treated “in the system” (juvenile detention or jail). They wanted to offer these boys and their parents a better alternative. Their goal, and the goal of Agapé to this day, is to help transform the attitudes of the boys so they take more concern for their own future and avoid self-destructing attitudes and activities — to basically put them back on the right track in life.
With 150 troubled boys on our campus, we work with each boy, helping to turn around their self-destructive actions and attitudes, plus we need to keep the peace of the entire group. That is no easy task! Boys come to us with drug issues, anger and aggression, and most have no respect for authority. Many were expelled from public school for fighting and otherwise causing trouble. Maintaining order within a large group of aggressive boys requires structure, regimented procedures, and constant monitoring, since things can quickly spiral out of control.
For their personal safety we therefore monitor every aspect of the boys’ time here, 24 hours per day. There is nothing sinister or “abusive” about such monitoring – it is for their own safety. When a student is considered to be in crisis or fighting, our staff are trained to take quick action to separate the boys using proper de-escalation techniques. Agitated boys are restrained safely and taken to a separate room to cool down. We do not allow our staff to use choke holds. Any staff resorting to a choke hold or other harm to a boy will be fired immediately and may face criminal charges. Choke holds and physical harm are simply not permitted.
As for required Bible verse memorization, which was reported by the journalists as being “abusive” to the boys, we are a religious non-denominational Christian facility. Parents know this when they bring their boy here. We believe that Scripture is valuable for a boy to know, and that it can change a boy on a sub-conscious level or come back to him at just the right time later in life. So, we are not and never will be ashamed to say that the Bible, what we consider to be God’s inspired Word, is an important part of our therapy.
Concerning the accusation that the boys are “used as punching bags for the staff,” we find this allegation totally ridiculous. It goes against everything we believe in and it would be against how we train our staff to act. And if a boy is cold or hot and thirsty when he goes outdoors, we expect them to let us know, but some boys just want to act tough or have something to complain about to get the parents to come get them. After all, many were brought here against their wishes and generally do not want to be here, at least not at first. They will find any and every excuse to give their parents as to why they shouldn’t remain here, and they will accuse Agapé staff of just about anything, just to shock their parents into coming to get them early.
Fact is, many of the boys that we have worked with over the past 30 years would be dead or on the streets or in gangs had they not gone through the Agapé program. That’s not what we say, it is what they and their parents consistently tell us upon graduation. At Agapé, our mentors and teachers work tirelessly to give these boys the motivation, tools, and direction they need for a better future and a better life.
One former staff member interviewed in one news story claimed that we “Fake that we love these boys, so they behave.” That is a very odd accusation made by a vocally disgruntled former employee. Showing genuine Christian love for the boys is the very definition of our “agapé” name (Greek word for “unconditional love”). Our care and concern is never meant to be a manipulation tactic. While some on our staff are naturally more loving than others, we are proud to have a very dedicated and caring team. Most of the men on our staff work here because they, too, were troubled at one time. They desire to give something back, to help other boys just like them.
The bottom line is that out of some 4,000 students over the past 30 years, just a handful of boys may have for one reason or another had a difficult time adjusting to life here at Agape. Many such boys only spent a few weeks on campus, but now they have become vocal critics online. News reporters have taken notice and jumped on the opportunity to report their damaging stories (with no proof whatsoever). Why? Because such stories about other similar facilities in other states have been very popular and have given journalists coveted awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism. We’re just the next easy target.
We on staff at Agapé aren’t perfect, nor are the staff of any such program — sometimes we make mistakes, but our hearts are in the right place. We desperately want to help these boys, and we do for most boys who come here. Most boys flourish here and go on to a great future, while a small number of other boys are just not the right fit and get bitter for being brought here. Our admissions staff work hard to ensure that the right boys are accepted, but sometimes we simply don’t know how they will react to being in such an environment. Parents often beg us to take their boy, out of concern for the boy’s safety and his future. Most such boys are totally out of control and doing great damage to themselves or causing fears for the safety of other family members.
Our efforts to help the boys are not for personal financial gain – everyone here receives very little in wages, and that is to help ensure that our tuition rate is well below that of other typical facilities. Agapé is nonprofit organization, so it is owned by no individual. Any extra funds generated or donated to Agapé are put right back into the program, which is why the facility, activities and training for the boys keeps getting better and better.
Think of the alternative…if the news media and activists are successful in shutting Agapé down, many other boys who could have come here will instead end up in jail, juvenile detention, or worse. Is that really what they want? We hope they are not that short-sighted.
We pray that parents of troubled boys will see the efforts of the liberal media to get Agapé shut down for what they are. Spreading the false accusations of just a few boys out of over 4,000 that have been helped by Agapé, and not getting any proof whatsoever of their claims, is totally irresponsible and libelous. We believe that 99% of the boys who have come to Agapé are very thankful for their time here (see real testimonials below).
Lies and blame-shifting is typical for troubled boys…parents know that. Theses boys have learned to blame anyone but themselves for their own mistakes, including not taking advantage of getting help while here at Agape. The news media then relishes the chance to attack us using the words of these troubled boys.
We consistently teach every boy here that they need to be honorable, truthful, and responsible for their own thoughts, actions, and attitudes. We train them to look to the future and prepare for it. For most boys, this sinks in and becomes part of their psyche while here, but it usually takes at least a year (sometimes more) for them to come to this realization. However, such maturity and self-responsibility are not achieved if their time here is cut short, or if a boy is unusually stubborn.
When thinking about the recent negative articles in the press, keep in mind that a similar exposé of religious boarding school programs in Florida awarded the zealous journalists there a Pulitzer Prize. Yet, many of those accusations were unfounded and later proven to be totally false. Unfortunately, the reporting caused several good programs to close down. So, think of the intent of these fame-seeking journalists and activists who are attacking us, and the fact that they interviewed none of our current staff nor any of the boys on campus to come up with their initial conclusions and accusations.
Innocent families can be hurt by the deception and lies of such false reports that are legitimized by the press. It is a sad practice for the news media to prey on parents and families at a time when emotions are the most fragile. During a time of family crisis, and while the parents are most vulnerable and desperate, misleading and erroneous information like this will convince some parents not to seek proper help for their troubled teenage son.
To verify what we have stated here, we encourage you to do your due diligence before considering our program. If you are a parent of a prospective student who has been pre-approved for admission into Agapé (application for admittance is free), we encourage you to first come visit us. Meet us face-to-face, see our facility and get a feel for Agapé. Getting your son the help he desperately needs is too important to allow critics and the words of a few troubled boys to discourage you.
Finally, rather than relying on the liberal media who is repeating what a few troubled boys have said about Agapé, we welcome you to read our many positive reviews HERE and HERE. Also, we have many former parents and students who you can talk to. They are more than happy and willing to talk to you since they went through the same thing you’re going through now. We encourage you to do your part and take these steps in determining if Agapé is the right program for your son. We have nothing to hide and we look forward to talking to you.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22
Here are just a few snippets of what parents and past students have said about Agape…
“I have to say that the staff is strict, but caring. We tried counseling, therapy, medication, etc., but we had an out-of-control kid, who was belligerent, failing in school, physically abusive towards us and his sisters. Our life was pure hell with him at home. As a last resort, we sent him there. I can honestly say that the Christian values they teach seem to be sinking in. He still has issues (ADHD and is bi-polar), but he is learning to control himself and become a better person. He’s due to graduate next year and is even talking about going to college and making something of himself. If you’re at wits end because your son has major behavioral issues, is failing school or has drug/alcohol issues, I think Agape is a great place to send them. Your son will probably not like the 24 hr. supervision, and the tough regiment, but as our son initially did. However, If we hadn’t sent him there, I’m sure he would have ended up in some juvenile facility eventually. Great job Agape with your son. Thanks so much.” — LC B.
“Among everything I learned at Agape Boarding School, the lesson I come back to every day is that God has a purpose for my life. I spent so much time wandering and wondering and feeling so lost. Now I know God has a plan for me, I feel confident instead of fearful about the future” — 1273geraldj
“I know it seemed horrible but when I look back I got a lot of help from Agape and I miss all these staff hope every one is well thanks for putting up with us” — Aaron Mccurley
“I was at Agape from 2003-2005. “Agape” “the highest form of love, charity” and “the love of God for man and of man for God”. If there is a place in the world to find this.. then Agape was it. I thank God for Agape and for what it did for me and my relationship with Christ, (God). ” — Aaron S.
“Sending our child away from home was definitely one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make in our lives. However, we are very glad that we learned of Agape’ particularly and connected with so many staff members and made lifelong friends and family. Our son graduated high school from here and without their influence, this would not have been possible. We are so thankful for their dedication to each and every child that enters the door there regardless of their reason for being there. They lead by Christian example and make sure that is instilled in every child daily along with schoolwork. Ultimately, it is the child’s decision whether or not they want to overcome and succeed. Agape’ was just the right connection to make this possible for our son. Thanks a million to Agape’ and many of the staff that made such an impact on our boy!! You know who you are. You are awesome to us!! Our child still talks about many of you and looks up to you dearly.” — Amanda Treadway
“Agape Boarding School was the best choice I could have made for my teenage son. He was on a very troubled path. Agape provides a caring and structured environment that troubled teens so desperately need. The educational program is solid and quality. I was amazed and impressed by the campus and the staff at Agape. I can say without a doubt that the students are provided with excellent care by a Christian staff who truly wants to see our sons succeed in life and grow in spirit and faith. My son has been there almost 6 months now and the change for the better has been significant. I truly thank God every night that he is at Agape and know that it was the best decision I could have ever made to benefit my son and place him on the right path. I spent months trying to find the right fit for my son and Agape was the best choice and the right choice.” — Anastasia H
“As a student I was involved in the program. The reason I was sent there was because of the atitude and the way I was living life. I started to live life like a street kid. I started to do drugs and smoke. God was at work in my life the second I entered Agape. While I was there I got saved and then I started to see that the way i was living was wrong and that my parents were right. Agape is a place that boys get sent to straighten out there lives and try to get back on there feet. They give the boys an education that you can’t get any were else. The facility has a swimming pool, football field, soccer field, and many things inside. The things that are inside are pool tables, a movie theater, a full size gym, and a full size dormitory, dining hall. This place is worth the time and effort to send your son there. If it changed my life and many others, I’m sure that it will change your sons also.” — Andrew H.
“Our son has been at Agape for eight months. Agape has turned his life around, he’s re-established a relationship with God, and is doing excellent, with so much potential to move forward in his life. The man at Agape are dedicated, hardworking, loving men who care very much for the boys. Our son has even thanked us for sending him to Agape to help him get his life back on track. We will always thank God for Agape!” — Angela Browning Boone
“Agape boarding school has done great by my kid and I. He is is happy, I’m happy. Grateful to the staff at Agape for helping us.” — Anonymous
“Agape was a lifesaver for our family and our son. The staff truly care about each boy. They share Christ’s love every day.” — Anonymous
“I had researched and talked to a lot of schools, but I knew when I walked in that Agape Boarding School was the right choice for our family. They talked about making a tough choice now to prevent harder times later, and that was exactly what I needed to hear. It was a difficult year without him home, but Agape Boarding School supported us all the way through.” — Anonymous
“When my husband and I started looking at boarding schools for our troubled teen, we felt lost. We didn’t know who to contact, or what to do to find out more about a good school. When we contacted Agape Boarding School they were very helpful in pointing us in the right direction so that we could expedite the whole process. Thank you Agape boarding school for helping us better take care of our son.” — Anonymous
“My son is currently enrolled at Agape Boarding School. His two and a half year addiction to drugs led him down a path of self-destruction that he could not control. Everything my husband and I tried failed, because he was still living in the same environment that kept drawing him back into his helpless addiction. My last hope was to remove him completely from the home that he had known all his life. That choice was by far the most heart-breaking decision a mother and father can make. My son told me in one of our scheduled phone calls that he didn’t think he would have ever stopped using drugs if we hadn’t sent him there. When I explained to him how hard a decision it was for his Dad and I to make, he told me it was the best decision we had ever made. At that point I knew for sure that Agape Boarding School was the right choice for my son. — Anonymous
“I have just returned from Agape for my first visit with my son in four months. And I have to say he is looking good, and is doing well in their program. I can say with out a doubt that Agape has literally saved my sons life. Thank you Agape staff for your vision and heart for lost boys.” — Bertie L.
“I was a student at this school. I can tell you, it has a good academic program that helped me far pass any public school education I would have gotten. The facilities are first class and the school is always looking for ways to make it better. The Christian influence that the teachers gave showed me they really did care for me and the other students I went through the program with. The man that started the school and also runs it, Mr. Clemensen, would give you the shirt off his back and then some. The school helped turn my life around from wreck and ruin and I’m glad I went. If I had to do all over again, I would do it again and excited to do so!!!! Thanks Agape for saving my life!!!” — Bob G.
“I was a student at this school. It has a top notch facility, The academics is outstanding, makes you learn and not just get by. Not only that it let me go at my own pace and the staff were willing to work with me. It has God throughout the whole school, which is good and you can tell the staff really care about you. When I found out how much my parents were paying for me to go to the school, I couldn’t believe how cheap it was seeing how much the program had to offer. The activities they provided were great and lots of fun also. If you are looking for somewhere to get your son help, with a good education, Godly principles and low in cost, Agape is the place I would recommend.” — Bob G.
“Agape was instrumental in changing our son’s view of the world and how he needed to participate in it. The almost adult we brought home after 18 months was very different than the boy we dropped off. I would encourage anyone who is have severe problems with their son to consider Agape. I would also encourage them to do it sooner than later. In retrospect I wish we had taken action earlier than we did, but it was the most difficult we have had to make as parents.” — Brenda Wexler
“Agape saved our son’s life. The students don’t like being controlled, but for a parent with an out of control son, this school is a lifesaver. We tried everything, counseling, support groups, help from the church, schools, you name it. Our son was still on a downward spiral and starting to get into drugs, truancy, bad “”friends,”” etc. We tried other schools but he would just go back into his bad habits. This school gave us our good son back. It takes time, it takes support, but it works. I note some reviews from former students. There are parents there almost all the time. I have been there several times and there were always other parents visting. I never saw nor heard of any abuse. The boys will dramatize and, even when things are good, complain. The truth comes out with the kids who stay with the program. It has changed our son’s life for the better and has given him the ability to overcome the temptations that were destroying his life. For the parent who loves their son and cannot stand to see him self-destruct, this school can work miracles. His grades are up, his attitude is improved. He is off the path of failure and on the track for success. Thank you, Agape!” — Brent B.
“I sent my son when he was 16. He was out of control. Today he has graduated from Berkeley and is at Law School. It changed his life! Wasn’t a walk in the park but it was what needed to be done in a desperate time!” — Carole Downing
“My son at 15 was spinning out of control. Desperate for help, I searched the Internet and called many places. I decided on Agape because of the intense structure, biblical principles, and the affordability. Agape staff proved to truly care about the boys. My son was able to graduate high school. We were very pleased with the program.” — Celeste Z.
“Agape has helped my grandson get a positive grip on his own great spirit. His worries about problems he couldn’t possibly solve were making himself destructive. This school is true to its name in healing broken hearts through the discipline of love. In all my experience working with teenagers, I have never seen a program more admirable and successful.” — Charlene N.
“Our son was at Agape for one year. He certainly appreciated it even though he didn’t like it. He came to respect & love the staff. We have the utmost appreciation & respect for the staff in what they have to go through & deal with. They truly love these kids with an Agape love. Your son will come home a different person than he was when he arrived. Of course, it’s ultimately his choice. Thank you Agape!” — Chris Hollingsworth
“I owe my life to this school and it’s staff. I am forever grateful!” — Chris Rhea
“We love Agape Boarding School, the staff and all the men who work with the boys are very dedicated and really care for the boys! This is not a job to them IT’S A MINISTRY as they work long. We still saw quite a difference in him and what God faithfully poured into him during that time period produced good long lasting fruit that he is using and applying in his next school program. Thank you Agape and all the staff for your tireless dedication, your constant caring and unwavering attention to holding our young men accountable for their actions so they can be all God designed them to be!” — Christina Scheuermann
“I wouldn’t want to know what my life would of been like with out Agape’. It changed my life and brought me closer to God I love and miss all the staff!” — Christopher David McDonald
“This school did something that no other program has for me it go me saved and turned my life around the staff members really care and had such a big impact upon my life. I couldn’t begin to be able to describe the things and life lessons taught me.” — Cole Roach
“Our son has come home a changed boy. He has recommitted his life to Christ while in Agape Boarding School. Relationships with his siblings have been restored and strengthened. He has good work ethics now. He works hard on our family farm without expecting pay. He acknowledges that he needs to get his energy out so that he can better concentrate and focus. His new talent since he came home is cooking. He has been cooking a big breakfast for his family just like he enjoyed on Saturdays at Agape. He serves a nice big pancake with sweet treats inside!” — Dana Christiansen
“For our family, Agape was a god-send and instrumental in saving my son’s life. My son graduated high school from Agape and I would send him back again.” — David K.
“We couldn’t ask for any more and are so thankful for programs like Agape, who help these kind of kids who just need a time of safety, care and discipline to get past their troubles. Some say that teenage boys who have been affected by drugs (even pot) and alcohol stop their mental/emotional growth for as long as the drugs and alcohol are in their system. They are like boys walking around in men’s bodies, with adult kinds of desires, but childish and care-free decision-making. We saw that in him. The substances he was using had delayed his maturity, and we had to find a place to keep him safe and totally away from drugs and alcohol until maturity could catch up. If we hadn’t, I’m afraid he wouldn’t be alive today.” — David P.
“What a God-send this place is. It is evident how much they care about the boys and want them to succeed. Rebellion can destroy a family. He is now full of peace and contentment and so are we. Anyone who reads the reviews on this school, please be discerning. Why would any boy who is fighting rebellion write a positive review? More importantly, why would anyone listen to the negative review of an ex-student? Of course, my son was angry when he was sent there, but now he knows it saved his future if not his life. We are so grateful to Agape for their love, discipline, and structure for our son, but also their love for us.” — DavidandSarah P.
“Agape was a lifesaver for our family and our son. The staff truly care about each boy. They share Christ’s love every day.” — Dawn Kicklighter
“My son attended agape 2008- 2009. Personally I found it a wonderful experience for him. Was it tough ? Absolutely. Was the education good. Far better than Las Vegas. He learned more there in one year than he probably learned in 3 out here. Plus he had to get good grades to pass. He was on wrestling team and took first place. They played sports, they did the snow thing which we don’t have out here. He learned to lay tile, do aluminum siding and a few other things. Tied some great flies with Bro Jackson for fly fishing. While he was there he learned respect, Most of all he had a relationship with Jesus Christ. Yes they do church everyday ,yes they read the bible everyday. Let’s face it folks if you are looking to send your son he must not be doing very well, in fact probably pretty bad. So know matter what you did to that point it wasn’t working. we tried everything. counseling was a joke first one kicked him out. I went ten times to try to deal with all the turmoil he caused. Its heartbreaking, these kids can destroy your whole family. if you have other children they are being affected. God is what makes these boys see things different. I wasn’t sure at first about sending him because he was on a I hate God trip. Now that he has went I would never send them anywhere but a religious school. Especially for the disrespect and behavior problems. just remember you are not sending them to Disneyland. Would they deserve that? no. It’s very very strict.” — Debbie D.
“I really want parents to know what an awesome and Godly school Agape is. I hate seeing negative reviews it really hurts me. My son learned so much at Agape I was amazed . 3 years later I still keep in touch and talk to parents all the time. These parents are visiting and loving everything Agape is doing. If I didn’t believe in it I would never write reviews or talk to parents all the time about it. If you are reading these reviews call some of us parents that have had or are having an awesome experience with agape. If you call the school they will give you our phone numbers.” — Debbie D.
“If you have a teenage son struggling and making bad choices. Maybe, he has gotten into a lot of trouble. I am telling you that your best choice is AGAPE Boarding School. With God’s help, they have saved my son. They are a Christian facility. The kids are held accountable for their behavior but taught in a Godly way how to make better choices. — Diane R.
“Agapè was a life saver for my family. They have mentored and helped me get on the right track, when I came on June 17th, 2016 I really had no plans for a future rather than to just do drugs and flake out of school, I had just recently left and now I’m on the right track to graduate this year, no drug interest and the staff there really cared and helped me some of them are close enough to be family. Thanks Agape for the help!” — Doug Dailey
“I truly believe that without Agape I wouldn’t have my son with my any longer. He was headed down a very dark road. Agape managed to open his eyes in ways that I just wasn’t able to. He listens, he apologizes, he accepts responsibility now. I don’t know what you all did that I wasn’t able to do but I am very thankful for each and every one of you. I truly can say that you all saved my son’s life. He isn’t the same child that I dropped off eight months ago, he is a better person. I am so proud of him! I can’t say enough about Agape! As a mother, I highly recommend it.” — Frannie Little
“I would highly recommend this school. We did a lot of research on other boarding school and this one just appealed to us the most especially because of its Christian beliefs and how they run their program along with a friend recommendation. As a nervous parent having to make the difficult decision to leave your son in the care of someone else can be quite overwhelming. The staff was incredible in helping us get our son there and then they were amazing to us once he was living there. The teachers went out of their way to help my son get his school work done. The Dean of students is an angel on earth that truly cares about the boys. My son is now a different kid that respects not only us but himself so he is much more careful on who he surrounds himself with. He now has college goals, values his family and is very appreciative of everything we provide for him. He also puts God in his life even though Agape never forced it on him. I give Agape credit to putting my son back on track because everything we tried just never worked. Some advice given to me was you have to get them out of their playground and remove all the distractions because they have been brainwashed into being a bad kid. At Agape I feel that they deprogrammed my son back into being the great kid he always was until the bad influences around him overtook him.” — Gabriella D.
“We will forever be grateful for the ministry and mission of Agape Boarding School. The key principles which they aspire to achieve (building a close relationship with God; rebuilding trust with family; teaching young men to be productive citizens, etc.) are closely adhered to in the daily actions and witness of Agape’s staff and leadership team. Our son, Thomas, has grown tremendously in his faith; his respect for others; and his general work ethic. He created his own destructive path into Agape but gradually earned his way out. We are abundantly grateful that Thomas has been safe, sober, free from social media, and engaged in regular prayer these past 19 months. We pray that his path ahead remains focused on the transformative foundation laid at Agape Boarding School.” — Geoff Kemble
“The changes in our sons life as a result of his time at Agape Boarding School have been phenomenal! His attitude, his walk with Christ, and his demeanor have all improved so drastically! Seeing him is a new experience every time, and a pure joy! We are so glad, we were pointed in the direction of Agape!” — gracegivenabundantly
“Christian run school by strong individuals. Let us not forget these kids were in trouble and needed boot camp and not a nursery to coddle them. Well done to this school and all their attempts! Staff is well balanced with education & Christ as goals.” — Hannah Cline
“This place has been a blessing to our family. It’s taught my son, who struggled to maintain in a general public ed population the value of a relationship with God, his family and a strong work ethic. My son who has been in attendance for a year now is academically achieving a 3.0 gpa (from 2 years behind), has been placed in a leadership position (who previously spent 14 hours a day on video games) and has built respect and trust with the fine gentlemen on staff who have committed their lives to creating a stable loving environment for these boys to grow into men and establish a strong sense of self through service. Our experience has been nothing but positive! I recommend agape to any family struggling to bring their boy back from a brink.” — Hannah H.
“As the parent of two former students of Agape Boarding School, I can say with no regrets, this school was a HUGE blessing to our family. When we had no where else to turn and had run out of options for dealing with severe behavioral issues, we found Agape to be the answer. They have a wonderful facility, which affords the students opportunities to complete their high school education, learn construction skills, and play various sports. The entire staff at Agape are committed to the success of each and every student. The boys are well cared for physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They are given the opportunity to earn privileges and go on special trips. Our boys both graduated with their high school diploma and both chose to enlist in the military after graduation. We are very happy to say that they completed their education and have gone on to be productive citizens. I strongly recommend this school to anyone in a tough situation with their teen boys.” — Heidi S.
“I was sent to Agape for my behavior I want to say thank you Agape for what you have done for me agapes helped me a lot if it wasn’t for Agape I’d be going down the wrong path right now but thank God they showed me things I never knew would help me they helped me understand that God loved me they helped me start the next step of my life where it needed to be. Thank you.” — iwryn adams
“This school really got me to where I needed to be and where God wanted me to be. I’m back at my Christian school and all my classmates and teachers can see the transformation in my life. I was saved by God’s grace while I was here and I got baptized at Agape soon after. I will never forget what this school has done for me.” — Jack Moyer
“We were so thankful to this school where my son turn to a brand new person. After spending a year in Agape, my son became so different. Everything was in disorder on him before going to this school, but after studying in this school, he became a loving, kind, obedient and thankful person. Although he went through a difficult even painful change process in the first few months, but it is so worth it. It’s priceless to see a person to change from use to be a “prodigal” to a new man. We praised God for using Agape to turn around our son!!” — Jade Hui
“My son spent 17 months at Agape and he came back a totally different person. We didn’t deal with drugs or alcohol at home, but something just as bad: rebellion, peer pressure, dishonor, disrespect and lying. He has been home a month now and we are seeing the improvements flourish. A total 180! The whole experience helped to bring him where he is today, but I must say that the Ranch Program is what ultimately helped my son the most. Riley, Justin, Terry and Tim helped to teach my son how to be honest, respectful and honoring. They also helped instill in him a work ethic he can use the rest of his life. Thank you to all the staff for helping my son.” — James Polich
“My parents knew what they were doing when they signed me up at Agape boarding school. The new start was exactly what I needed. Living with the other guys there showed me a lot about myself, things that I’m sure my parents knew but I would never have listened to them. It was a safe place to be real with myself and real with others.” — Jamie H.
“So grateful to Agape Boarding School. They’ve helped our son get on track with, and accelerate through school, as well as given him a new hope and optimism for his future. Thank you Agape Boarding School!” — J. H.
“The staff at Agape boarding school sacrificed so much for me. They gave me hope when I had none. Most importantly, they showed me who Jesus Christ is. I want to work with youth too so that I can help kids like me, just like they did at Agape.” -Jamie huntington
“We were very pleased with the progress Agape made with our son. They were able to grab hold of his behavior and ground him in terms of entitlement and privilege. Chase was raised in a Christian home, but Agape was able to instill biblical teachings into real life situations to show relevancy for his life.” — Jane Kruse
“This school is great. It changed my whole life around. Has motivated me to live for God with that involves me going to college. If you are considering Agape for your son, do it. It is a great school for troubled young men.” — Janus Bifax
“Wonderful place with staff that truly care about helping and changing the lives of the students.” — Jeannie Walker
“Agape boarding school has changed my son’s attitude, work ethic, and direction in life for the positive. The staff really cares about those boys and it shows! I can not say enough about this school. Thank you Agape for all that you do for my son and those boys.” — Jeff S.
“This school is excellent. My son is good now. Thank you very much.” — Jennifer Nguyen
“Agape boarding school was a godsend to our family. Our son was out of control and they took him and turned him into a respectful loving son. He graduated from there in half the time it would have taken him in public school. He learned skills he never would have learned at home and he learned the value of hard work. It was worth every penny and we are so grateful to the staff for straightening him out.” — Jo Ann S.
“Agape Boarding School saved the lives of my son, my husband and me. Agape embraced our son, filled him with the Holy Spirit, gave us a break from the chaos of the life we were living with our son and an opportunity to renew our marriage and relationship. Our son will graduate in a week, we will bring him home and his new life will begin thanks to Agape. His choices will be shaped by the excellent role modeling of manhood that the staff at Agape demonstrates on a daily basis, not through their words, but by their actions. We will forever be indebted to Agape for their mission and willingness to turn the lives of these young men around.” — Jo Ann Stupakis
“This school is amazing!!!! Agape has saved my son! Anyone who is having a very difficult time with their son, I highly recommend it. It has been worth every single penny!! It is a very hard decision to make to send your son away, but do it for your son, this is not about you.” — Joann Hand
“Contrary to what others say, this school was one of the best things that could have happened to me during my troubled youth. I found solace in their religious teaching and staff were deeply compassionate–I came in without any deeper meaning in my life and a sense of being a delinquent, but staff helped me each day both restore myself psychologically and self-worth wise. I’m now working on my pre-meds in college and doing quite well. People whom I keep in touch with at agape have varying outcomes (some finished high school/in college, others working menial jobs), but most of them have stayed out of trouble and are leading solid lives. Concerning discipline: the discipline was a bit too strict for my liking, but I think overall it wasn’t anything unmanageable. I didn’t see anything remotely resembling abuse while there. Other reviews are exaggerating.” — Johnathan W.
“I recommend this school to any parent with their trouble teens. The kids may be angry for being sent there and tell you it is a waste of time because they choose not to change or stay in their addiction or rebellion! But as a parent, I know I have done my job to give my son a chance to change and show love sacrificially. The staff at Agape are wise and firm! They are not easy to be manipulated by these kids. Let’s face it, most of us would not send our children to the boarding school if they were in their perfect obedience. Trust God in using this place to change our next generation for Jesus. My son had received support long after he graduated from Agape. It may not be perfect and never am I! It is a good place! Trust God He will use your boy!” — Josephine Chan
“Fantastic school and staff! My son was on the wrong path and nothing was working. We tried everything from counseling, church programs, public school (nightmare experience with him going deeper and deeper into the IEP or special ed program) home schooling, nothing helped him. Our family was absolutely exhausted when we started looking into boarding schools. We quickly learned that most boarding schools would not consider him (even military boarding schools) due to his past of running away. After 15 months at Agape, the changes in this boy has been a miracle! Our son is less impulsive and foolish. Without Agape he would have had no chance at life. Thank you Agape for everything you guys are doing. I can’t even imagine working with 140 of these types of students.” — Kelly C.
“My son has been at Agape for one year. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. He was making bad decisions, hanging with the wrong kids and doing poorly in school. We tried to handle the situation ourselves but it kept getting worse. We couldn’t get through. It came down to the point where we knew if we did not send our son for help, we did not know what his future would hold. Agapes staff, through God, has restored my son. He loves himself, he loves God and he loves his family. I can’t say enough about this special place and the staff that works with these precious children. I am forever grateful to these people. They teach them to live a faithful life, to love themselves and others and also self-control. They are forever part of our family and have given my son the tools he needs to live a faithful, beautiful life, through God with the most amazing walk here in this world and for eternity. We are always told to trust God when there are struggles in your life. We did and Agape was what we prayed for. It’s not easy, you miss your child more than words can say but if your patient and trust in God, the unimaginable happens.” — Kristen Atchley
“A lot of people are desperate for help and seek it, but then they want it on their OWN terms and by their OWN standards. If those had worked, then they wouldn’t still need the help. My son is currently at Agape. He has had his complaints…, but not often, and believe me, no one was more defiant. He KNOWS Agape has saved his life, in more ways than one. When we discuss the past he says, “Mom, I was twisted then.” Agape has helped him grow in many ways, and succeed without medications. He has some good relationships with staff, he has confidence and has learned humility. I am very proud of him and thankful for Agape.” — Laura M.
“My son’s experience at Agape was life changing! He entered the school 15 months ago angry, defiant, belligerent, disrespectful, etc… He pretty much didn’t care if he destroyed his own life or those in his family. Now, he is home. He is not perfect, but he has learned respect for authority, respect for others property and has the desire to do right. He is willing to TRY! Thank you Agape! Thank you to all the staff who poured into my son and gave him what he needed and thank you Lord who answered this desperate mom’s plea for help!” — Laurel Shippert
“My son was in a very dark place before Agape, but the staff was able to help him rebuild his self-confidence. He now has a much healthier attitude and is planning for his future.” — Leah Gurnic
“I truly believe Agape was an answer to our prayers when we had no hope, did not know what to do with our kid…When looking for a boarding school to help my nephew that I consider also as my son since I am his guardian, he did not speak a word of English at the time, many schools could not accept him because of the language barrier, well, Agape said yes, they accept the challenge! My nephew/son was there for almost 2 years, we could see he changed to a polite, responsible young man, that is true he did not love Agape, but he understands he need it and he appreciated all the work done… Every visit I did to him, I came back home with my heart broken debating with God things could be different, at the same time I could rest assured he was safe and learning lessons he would take with him for the rest of his life! I truly love Agape for all they have done for my nephew/son!
“As a single parent, one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make was to send my son to a boarding school. Although he was not into drugs or gangs, he was having severe problems with his temperament and going to school. Agape taught himself discipline and a willingness to take on responsibilities. Now, he is working toward graduation and his future is looking bright. The staff have become like a second family to my son.” — Linda Thornhill
“Our adopted son has been in and out of “treatment” for much of his life. He is now an older teen, with a fairly decent head on his shoulders. Both he and I interviewed the staff at Agape at length before our enrollment. Our son has become a keen observer from his prior experiences in school. He and I both felt that Agape was what it presented…. highly structured, but loving. Calling on young men to rise to a higher standard. The staff, specifically, Scott Smith, were more than willing to answer ours and our son’s questions and to make commitments of excellence and honesty. Through communications with our son and our own observations, this has been absolutely the case. They are highly transparent in their program and there have been no surprises. They have helped our family immensely through some very difficult times and it is clearly a ministry. If you are looking for a boarding school with high academic standards, structure and real-life preparation and training offered from an atmosphere of love, Agape fits the bill. We have not found a program that comes close to comparing.” — Lisa A.
“We are very grateful for your positive influence on our son. He has been doing great since coming back home. The best testimony to your influence is how much our son talks about the different staff members and visiting speakers and other students. He wants to call back and visit. Thank you very much for all your hard work. We thank the Good Lord for all. And are so happy to have our son home.” — Lisa O’Regan
“Around age 13 we started having trouble with our son. He was doing drugs, hanging with the wrong crowd, and getting in trouble in school, getting kicked out and in and out of juvenile. Our choices by a judge were to send him to foster care or to a boarding school. We chose Agape Boarding School after visiting there and talking with many staff there. It is a very good school. Our son went 2 years. During his stay there he got saved, baptized and learned the Bible. I would highly recommend it to anyone worried about their son’s future. While our son was there he wrote us a letter letting us know before he went to Agape he was suicidal, doing drugs, and cutting himself when he was at home. This school saved my son’s life. He is alive today because of the caring staff and support he got while there. Boys that have been there that rejected the program and haven’t turned from there ways often write bad reviews about the school. You can ask staff there any questions about this and they will freely give you honest answers. We did as well before sending our son. These people care about these boys and do this in service to God. This is there calling in life to help these teenage boys. My son is a better person for being there and I would do it again if I had too.” — Marla M.
“I thank God daily for Agape. My grandson would not be alive today if it wasn’t for them. The first time I visited, I could not believe how well behaved the boys were. The untuly, belligerent boy we left in their care is now a well mannered young man. Thank you to all the Agape staff.” — Mickey Holman
“I attended agape for two and a half years. I personally find the negative reviews I see here to be disgusting. It seems like they were posted by a bunch of crying babies who never grew up and realized that the people at agape although never perfect did more than their jobs when raising these brats. The truth is most of you weren’t perfectly balanced when you arrived there and although the school is Christian not every kid is going to be healed by a miracle. God bless you guys and may you continue to grow and flourish under God’s good grace” — Mike R.
“My son is presently at Agape’ and from our experience thus far I feel my son was headed to jail or worse, had he continued the way he was going. He went to Agape’ and has had an attitude to take advantage of the opportunity he has been given. He shows great growth in maturity and acceptance of responsibility. He has built a personal relationship with God and wants to be the person he is capable of being. After 10 years of doctors and psycologists, he is now taking no medicines and feels good about himself. ” — Mike Y.
“Agape boarding school saved my son, he did incredibly well in their program and we have the son we always knew he could be. Before he went to Agape he was angry, defiant, disrespectful, unaccountable, cheating on school work, stealing money from my wallet, drinking alcohol and smoking vapes. We tried counseling and that didn’t work. We had him in a private Christian School and he still was doing all this. I was afraid he would harm himself or someone else. I looked at many other schools and they were crazy expensive, Agape was the most affordable and I liked their program. Sending my son there was one of the hardest things I have ever done but it was all worth it to have my son back.” — Misti G.
“My son came home with respect for authority he desperately needed and a closer relationship with Christ. He can also maintain self-control when he is becoming upset and appears to let the little things go.” — Misty George
“Thank you to so many at Agape! You lovingly guided our son. Though it was the toughest decision of our lives to turn our son over, I am thankful God guided us to Agape. In the time he was there, he was so focused and driven he graduated a year early! He accomplished so much in the short time he was there. He became a leader. He exceled at sports. He became involved in the men’s choir. He made lifelong friends deeply rooted in the love surrounded at Agape. THANK you Agape for everything!” — Noelle Harper
“Staff were compassionate, respectful, and helpful. My son learned to deal with his anger and frustration, in addition to recognizing the need to avoid negative influences. He is now a self-starter, relying on his own abilities and skills. The horse class was truly a gift because it taught him patience, self-reliance, and compassion.
Even though the staff have a challenging job, they always demonstrated concern for the boys at Agape.” — Pat Hayes
“It’s a school for troubled boys. Very Christian, very structured. It’s good for some kids who need this kind of help. I have seen kids enrolled and graduate and be very successful. The place is safe and clean and well organized, They have plenty of help to get the kids back on track and a lot of help with academics.” — Peter L.
“Our son was already 17 when he began his stay at Agape. He had started his senior year failing school and in trouble with the police. A judge gave him the option of attending Agape or going through the legal system. He chose the school. He didn’t like it much the first few months, but slowly began to see the benefits of being there. He has completed his studies, graduated and best of all got baptized. He has been home for about 5 weeks and is adjusting well. He is getting his driver’s license, a car and has been working. He plans to enroll in a carpentry apprenticeship program this fall. The school and staff kept in us informed of our son’s progress. They did wonders with him in just 8 months. We enjoyed the several visits to the campus. We had been praying for many months for an answer to the pain of watching our son spin out of control. Agape was just the answer we were looking for, praise God. ” — Phil DeMarco
“Our son had an amazing experience at Agape. It was not always an easy path for him but the changes we saw in his life over the two years he was there were definitely life changing. Agape was what our son needed at that time in his life to give him options and opportunities going forward. Agape has truly been a blessing to our family.” — Philip Bradney
“Agape Boarding School was the place God used to change my life around. At age 15 , I had no direction with my life and was just starting down the wrong path. I am now a senior at Bible College and when I graduate I will be the Youth Pastor for a church in Montana. Agape was difficult at first but that was because of my own stubbornness. Agape was the place that brought my whole family together. If I could go through it all over again, I would because I know the staff have genuine care for you and walk with God to match.” — Philip N.
“I was sent to Agape on February 10th 2014. Agape can do many great things for the boys at the school, and the school has many great things to offer. Agape helped me turn my life around. I would like to say thanks to all the staff and students who helped me with my stay. Just because a student leaves the program and chooses to do wrong doesn’t mean it is the school’s fault. Students can do very good in the program, leave the school and decide to go back to the same life they had before. It’s the student’s responsibility to choose to walk with God and do what’s right when they leave the school. The program can’t control one’s mind. But the program can show you the right decisions and how to make them for when you leave the program.” — Pierluigi F.
“This program has helped him by giving him real purpose and self-pride. It taught him things I could have never taught him. The staff is caring and warm. They are strict and provide a safe environment. This is a great place for your son if you are like me and are out of options and need a desperate change to save your son’s life” — Raena C.
“We found Agape when our teen son was so out of control that his next stop would have been juvenile hall. He has been there 10 months and has learned self-control and is starting to develop self-discipline…….and the staff there really care about the souls of our sons!! Nothing is easy, or we could have helped them at home!! Life lessons are difficult for some boys, and they need the 24/7 accountability they have at Agape. Of course he complains, but who wouldn’t, when they want to do things their way……great spiritual development and maturing happening, and we couldn’t be more pleased with this great school!!!!” — Sally S.
“Agape utterly transformed our son. He entered at 16 with a significant substance abuse problem. In the six month period leading up to his enrollment at Agape he had left home a dozen times (for days at a stretch) to keep company with a bad group of so-called friends. On nights when he had gone missing, I would lie awake and wonder when (or if) I would see him again. I trembled at the sound of a siren, thinking perhaps he was in the back of an ambulance or picked up by police. He had become so incorrigible that I barely recognized him as my son. My husband and I were living through a nightmare and at our wits’ ends. Initially we looked into therapeutic boarding schools that focus on medication and therapy. We found that, not only were they cost prohibitive, but failed to stress individual accountability and self-control. We realized that what we needed was a school that offered a religious/spiritual basis for hope and self-mastery, with an emphasis on inculcating Christian virtues. Agape did all that and more for our son. The staff is caring and compassionate and they never give up on the boys. The students adhere to a strict daily schedule, strive to become leaders and embrace opportunities for work both in and outside the school. (Our son was thrilled to be chosen for a group that visited a nursing home.) When we picked our son up from Agape after 19 months in the program, he was a changed young man. He told us that he had “found his peace at Agape.” He knows his Bible quite well now and understands that, thanks to Agape, he was saved both from himself, and for a life in Christ.” — Sarah Kemble
“Can’t say enough good things. Agape has been a Godsend to our family. Our son has been there for over a year and has made good progress. They are loving and firm…something a 15-year-old boy needs. It’s amazing how all the bad reviews for them are from the kids, and I mean kids, that have stayed there. Of course, they wouldn’t like it. But the adults in their lives completely understand they need to be there. Nothing negative to say. We are blessed.” — Sarah Puebla
“Agape has and is a blessing to our family!! My son was there for 1 1/2 years without them he never would have graduated. He often tells me how he wished he would have stayed on there as a staff member! He still talks about how well the staff treated him and he truly cares about many of them like family!!! He struggled at first only because he was rebellious and did not want to listen to authority, he was going to let no one tell him what to do or how to act. But after 9 months I seen a big change in my son and he was happy and very respectful. He has since been in trouble after leaving Agape but he refers to it as a wonderful time in his life!!! We now have twin daughters in the staff school who are doing amazing. They love the Lord and they are very respectful, kind, loving and beautiful girls. They love their teachers and all the staff members and families. Agape is a great place for your children and your grandchildren!!! ” — Sherri R.
“First of all, please allow me to apologize on the behalf of several students out there who have bad-mouthed this place; they obviously didn’t catch what I so valuably learned there. Agape’ is what you make it. Agape’ can be good or bad, sweet or sour, lovely or long, it is up to the student that determines his life there. Agape’ is not an evil place by any means, if it were, I wouldn’t take time out of my night to write this. I am currently in the middle of Afghanistan, I just got off guard duty for 8 hours, it’s 1:08 in the morning and I am more than happy to be here instead of sleeping because I know what happened in me there at Agape. I wasn’t a huge troublemaker, but I was an Agape’ student at that. Don’t let my professional impression give you the wrong idea, may I tell you, I have come a long way. I was in and out of trouble like a sick kid in and out of the bathroom. I took the program to heart and it was a part of me even behind closed doors after I graduated and went home. These kids who wrote their experiences amuse me. They sound like they just got to Agape’. They sound like little kids, who STILL haven’t learned, or changed from the person they were when they got sent to Agape’. It sickens me, sickens me to the core to see young, immature, spoiled, ignorant little brats destroy something that changed me, saved me, turned me into a man, helped me grow and correct my negative behaviors. These students who have trashed Agape’, clearly can’t see past themselves, I wouldn’t listen to them if I were you. Truth is they deserved to go there, in fact, they should have been there longer. They obviously didn’t pick up anything while they were there, or they would have written something different, don’t you agree? You got these students who harbored their will inside them and grew bitter against the staff and program on a daily basis. They seriously robbed themself of all of the progress they could have made.” — Steven V.
“My husband and I are very thankful to have our son attend Agape Boarding School. We have personally visited the school and we speak with the staff often. While it’s true that the boys don’t always appreciate being there, they are well cared for. The staff truly care, and the administration is always seeking ways to improve the school and make additions to its facilities and programs. We know that our son is in a safe place at Agape. One of the things that have impressed me is that the staff really pays attention to the boys and expects them to do right. Each boy who resides at Agape does indeed have to make their own decision to go along with the program and change for the better, or continue to rebel and go against it. The school has many success stories. We hope our son will be one of them, but it will ultimately be up to him.” — Tammy S.
“Know that bad reviews were written by the students who were sent there to find God and themselves. The boys who do, become the men we thought they could be. The ones who don’t, missed the whole point.” — Tracy Tracy
“If you have an out-of-contol teen or one that is getting into the wrong crowd or lifestyle, I highly recommend you do the unthinkable as a parent and send him to Agape…. Believe me no parent thinks they will be doing this, but when it comes to it out of love FOR your child, send him.” — W M.
“We felt despaired when we sent our son to this school. It is true that my son changes soon and becomes a sunny, active, nice boy. He loves Jesus and wants to study now.” — Youming Lyu