These stories of success and transformation are from Elk Mountain’s sister program at Clearview Horizon. Sharing oversight and staff, these two institutions are somewhat identical in their approach, dedicated to ensuring all young women who attend receive the care, direction and love they deserve.
These stories paint a picture of the powerful changes our staff works tirelessly to achieve for every girl at Elk Mountain.
“At first, I did not like it here and I did everything I could think of to get out. Choosing to continue my stay here, I have gained credibly and changed both mentally and physically. Before I came here I despised reading, I would never pick up a book and finish it. I have read more than 7 books since my stay here. When I read a book I am deep in the story. My vocabulary increased immensely and I’m able to understand much more than I did before my stay here. I am getting really good grades; when I need assistance in my work I am not afraid to ask for help. I am fortunate to take part in a few trips this past summer. I went on a rock climbing trip and a river rafting trip with the other girls here. It was an unforgettable life experience! I told my therapist and director about when I first started to climb the mountain – when I was climbing the first rock I climbed half way and when I got to the middle of the rock I would just hang there. I would try again and work my way up to the top but I stopped and hung on the rope. I finally got down and gave up. This is what happens in real life with me, I will do really well and keep persevering to the top, but then something goes wrong and I fall straight down hitting rock bottom.
There are 4 levels here:
- Resistance – you refuse to cooperate and work your program
- Open – you’re open to change and advice on improving your well-being
- Initial – you’re holding yourself and others accountable, being honest and reliable, taking risks, and stepping out of your comfort zone to make changes in your life
- Internalizing – taking action without thinking about the situation, internally being the changes you’ve made without having to remind yourself
I have been Level 1 three times, level 2 when I was in a better mindset, and I recently voted up to level 3. I sat in my crap for a year thinking I was going to get out sooner than later. When I realized I’d be here longer than I had planned I stopped being stubborn and wasting my time by deciding to really make and effort to change. Level 3 is a lot of responsibility and hard work; there are times when I want to give up. This is the positive grown up responsibility that I need to accomplish instead of responsibility that is non-working and unhealthy for me.
All the girls and staff here are a positive influence. They and incredibly supportive and take the time to listen and talk with you being completely genuine, honest, patient, and compassionate. In the beginning, I was very negative and brought down anyone else who seemed as vulnerable as myself. I did this for quite some time until the day I said to myself this negativity is only making me worse and wasting my time. With my education, Clearview has helped me finish my credits faster so that I can receive my diploma soon. Every week they have me set goals for my schoolwork so I can stay on track and remain focused on each class. I receive one-on-one work from the teacher every day when I need help and I know the have my best interest in mind when they continue to help push me instead of giving up. They’ve also gotten me a tutor for extra help once during the week. This program has provided me with the best education I’ve ever acquired.
I am really blessed and thankful to be here because there is so much encouragement and compassion; it’s been my second chance in life. I am thankful to be sober and where I am because I know if I were to go back to South Pasadena I would go straight back to my past without any hesitation. That’s when my impulsiveness would take over. I do not like how I am in the middle of nowhere in Montana, but it is good for me because there are no drugs and people to influence me in non-working actions. I understand it’s what I need for my own good to keep me alive and healthy.
During my stay at [redacted] High School, I tried to do anything to get out of school I did not like [redacted] HS because I had no support there correlating my education. I did not know anything what so ever and I did not care about anything or anyone. I suffered from depression back home. I was not able to get my education that I needed for my age and grade level. I knew how to read but I did not understand what was being read. I had a 3rd or 4th grade level vocabulary level. I was humiliated when I told people I couldn’t understand them.
Thankfully I’ve been able to make many changes at Clearview with my education and well – being. I am now honest with my parents, staff, the girls here, teachers and therapist. I have the closest relationship with my parents now that I have ever had before. For once I actually enjoy and look forward to talking with my mom and dad each week! In regards to my education, my reading level has gone up vastly and I am able to work independently on my schoolwork without relying on others to give me the answers. I am also able to concentrate and take the time to finish my work as best as I can instead of taking the easy way out. None of this would have been possible without the help, support, and time from Clearview that allowed me to work throughout my issues.
Thank you for your time, energy, and hard work with everything you are doing to help support my education and family”
“Although at the beginning I wasn’t sure, and there were times when I had my doubts, I know now that this program has helped me in many ways. My entire life, both within the program, and outside of it with my friends and social life, provided a new lifestyle and a different aspect of life that I really learned from.
Moving across the country, making a whole new set of friends, going back to high school, and adapting to a new family and new life all “increased my comfort zone” very much. I think the changes in themselves made me a stronger, more adaptable person and I am much more able to deal with change. Also, the program gave me the chance to really act my own age and experience the high school life that I never would have experienced had I not ended up here. I made friends that I would not have befriended in my old lifestyle. Basically, I opened my mind and found real friends.
Living here for the past almost 11 months has made me a much stronger person physically, mentally, emotionally, and morally. I have changed so much it’s hard to think of how I was before I came to Clearview. I have worked on the many aspects of making myself healthier and stronger and, therefore, happier. I have had the chance to really think about who I am and what I believe in. Right now I have a strong grip on myself and know myself more than ever before. I feel comfortable with who I am and I don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone anymore, whereas I used to think that I had to use drugs, friends, relationships, etc., to gain respect for myself. I’m happy with myself and I know now that I deserve more than I used to expect for myself. Now that I have realized this, I think that I can handle relationships, friends, family and life in general much better.
I’m not afraid to stand up for myself. In fact, these days it’s hard for me not to stand up for myself. Now that I’m happy with myself and my life, I have a lot more fun. I try things that I wouldn’t have tried before, and I want to really live my life now, really experience life to its fullest. I’m ready to go out and try everything I’ve always wanted to try!
I have learned so much this year about so many things. Mary Thielbahr, my mentor, has taught me so much about relationships, friendships, family, life and men. I just hope I remember it all when I need it!
This year has been a really good experience and I have grown from it. Even though it wasn’t all fun and games. I’m glad it happened.”
“Being here gave me a sense of relief, respect, and an indescribable feeling of content in letting go. Thank you so much for providing all the things you have for me even the things I may not be aware of. I wish and hope you know much it meant to me and helps me.”
“Wow, this has been such an exciting, unbelievable time of my life. I can always look back on my first rough months here and say, wow I’ve changed A LOT. I was this lost, crazy, out-of-control partier/druggie who needed safety and I actually decided it was time for some help. Now I take a look at myself and I see a completely different person in me. I’m this strong woman looking for another chance at life. I know that I’ve earned a new beginning, I deserve and accept it. My mom and I had a toxic relationship and we both didn’t know how to be in a “real” positive relationship. I always told her things to push her away and had no hope. Now we have an amazing relationship thanks to Clearview.
I want to give thanks for everyone who’s helped me through the rough times and all the troubles. Clearview has taught me a lot and has helped me learn how to say no to things and say no to people. I have grown a lot stronger in myself and learned patience, even though I still have a hard time being patient. I’m working on being patient. I am now in an amazing place with myself and everyone here.”
“Being here eleven months is unreal! I have gotten to watch people who I loved more than ever leave as amazing people and now that I get to leave after growing and becoming stronger is such a struggle. I am now saying goodbye to the people I love and care about who have helped me grow into the person I am today. Clearview has helped me more than I can express! I came here with so many issues that I didn’t even know about, and some that I just didn’t want to admit were true. I was a liar, I stole, I had a bad relationship with my family, I showed emotion through anger, self harm and making bad decisions, I had low self esteem, I didn’t have a real relationship with God and with others, and I was confused, hurt and lonely.
As I began to grow at Clearview I got a Clear View of why I did some of these things and why I felt the way I did. Once I got to Clearview my struggle with knowing what to do with all the emotion inside of me was still there. In my time here I have gained so many qualities I will be able to use throughout my lifetime. Having fourteen or more girls living in one house can get quite crazy. There is tons of drama, you never have time to yourself, and sometimes people are here that you just don’t get along with. Because of this I gained the ability to stay out of drama, be patient and forgiving, and to love and care for people who need it. The friendships I have made here are what got me through these eleven months. I now have healthy people to contact and keep me in my higher self. Along with my relationships with friends my relationship with God played a huge part in my life. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a FUTURE and a HOPE.” That promise God made for us kept me going through it all. Knowing I have a purpose, and that I am not here for nothing helped me see myself in a brighter light.
Clearview also helped me face my fears and experience “the great outdoors.” I have never been an outside kind of girl so this was hard for me. The two big adventures we went on were a canoe trip and a white water rafting trip. The white water rafting trip is when I really began to see the world’s beauty and began figuring out who I was. There were no outside distractions. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.
I am a new person and I still have more growing to do but with the tools Clearview gave me I will be able to fight and push through all the hardships life throws my way.”
Clearview Parent Reviews
“I have been very pleased with the way my daughter has responded to the therapy, home environment, socialization process, and overall concern and attention given to her by the Clearview program. My daughter began the program as a withdrawn, sullen fourteen-year-old, using deception and cunning to manipulate and control her environment. She is now blossoming, exhibiting a burgeoning positive attitude, is more open with her feelings, and has learned that all actions do indeed have consequences for which we all must take responsibility. She is now earning back the respect of her family. Her main focus no longer being simply on herself, but rather on how to work together as a whole to get a job worth doing done well.
I can’t express how much I appreciate my daughter’s new, open, up-front positive attitude and seeing how her priorities have changed so entirely. Her grades are back up to the level they were prior to her involvement with drugs, alcohol, and abusing ‘friends.’ Her confidence is gradually coming back, and her sense of self-esteem increases daily. She is also much more responsible regarding the saving and spending of money. I attribute all of this to the time she has spent in the Clearview program.
Overall, I cannot give a higher ‘thumbs up’ to the Clearview program, set in the beautiful northern Idaho community of Sandpoint on Lake Pend Oreille, and to its director, Mary Thielbahr and the effect she and her program have had upon my daughter, and therefore, upon the healing of our whole family.”
— Marta Vinnedge, Seattle, Washington
“I enrolled Karla in a wilderness program pending the successful completion of that program I would make the ‘next step’ decision for Karla. During the time Karla was in the wilderness program I did the research for her next placement. I consulted with a well respected educational counselor in Seattle. I asked for recommendations from the local mental health agencies. In each case Clearview residential treatment program was the recommendation.
Clearview is a residential facility that is located in a serene, peaceful setting. It offers a controlled, structured environment providing one-on-one as well as group therapy and family counseling. Mary advised that Karla undergo both physical and mental testing/screening. We were looking for possible chemical imbalances as well as possible psychological problems. Karla had such large self-esteem issues and we were looking for ways to explain the motivation behind her self-destructive and hostile acts.
A year ago I would not have believed we could come so far. The expense has been well worth it. The combination of an accurate mental diagnosis, controlled medication, therapy, and a nurturing environment has improved Karla’s chance for normalcy. She is well on her way to learning to deal with and face her problems giving her a new sense of self-confidence and an ability to move forward past the past.”
Doug D. Howell
“I highly recommend Clearview Horizon for girls. When our daughter entered Clearview at age 17-1/2 we felt like we had done everything we could and that we needed help. Clearview was exactly the help we needed. Our daughter had multiple things to deal with including learning disabilities, addictive behaviors, depression issues and self image problems. She developed tools to deal with her challenges. She came to love and respect us again.
Throughout all the challenges, Clearview was there for us. Sometimes the staff told us things we did not really want to hear, but always they counseled and coached us out of love and extensive experience. The staff have seen just about any possible issue. They know when tough love is best and when other forms of love and treatment might bring different results. I unreservedly endorse the Clearview program.”
— Brad Cherry