Sending your child to a therapeutic boarding school, especially an international program in the Caribbean, can be a difficult decision. We will gladly list all the benefits, but nothing speaks louder than hearing directly from our students. Enjoy watching video testimonials and reading Caribbean Mountain Academy reviews from students who have graduated from the program and experienced personal breakthrough and spiritual growth.
The following Q & A session is with a graduate of Crosswinds’ Caribbean Mountain Academy, a Christian therapeutic boarding school program.
What was your life like before you arrived at Caribbean Mountain Academy (CMA)?
My family just moved from Wisconsin to Texas so it was really crazy. I finished 7th grade just hoping to pass, but didn’t put my all into it. I hate change so I got negative and that affected my parents as well as me. I would do chores halfway and get upset when my parents would point them out. My parents kept warning me that they were thinking about sending me to a boarding school but I didn’t believe them and kept living life the same. They weren’t joking so I came to CMA on August 26th. My mom kept saying that this place is like a reset button, it is all a choice. In a way, I know I needed to fix my life, but was too lazy to even try. I didn’t try in deep relationships with peers and withheld all my feelings. I could tell my actions were hurting my parents.
What did you think of CMA when you first arrived?
I was in shock when I came here. I didn’t think my parents were serious. I know part of why my parents sent me here, but still didn’t understand the full reason. The idea that I would have to trust new people and have to express my emotions were the things I was most nervous about.
Do you feel you have changed as a person? What did you learn about yourself?
During the time I was at the Academy, I definitely changed myself. I learned how to express my emotions and not to be frustrated that I expressed them. I made some of the best friends while being here. I learned to accept my past and also that my past doesn’t control me. I better understand what a positive deep relationship should look like.
How were the sessions with your Therapist? How do you feel about the staff here?
My first few sessions were hard, but after a good three months I saw that my parents only wanted the best for me. My therapist really helped me sort through difficult issues and was always there for me. The other staff was also really supportive and willing to talk.
What role did your faith play? How have you grown spiritually since you’ve been at Caribbean Mountain Academy?
I definitely know something greater is out there, but I’m still searching. The pastor here is always up for questions.
What did you like best about the CMA? How were the facilities and food?
All the memories you have, it really is an experience that you won’t forget. The housing is definitely something I wasn’t used to but after a week you get used to it. The food is great, it’s fun to try a culture’s foods.
How is your life going to be different when you go home? How has your relationship with your family changed? Has your family changed?
Being here has given me a future and a future to look forward to. I want to be part of my family and want to enjoy the time I have with them.
What is the best advice you would give another student who has a similar situation like you?
Life here might be frustrating and discouraging in the beginning, just remember it’s up to you to change your life. The staff here or your parents aren’t going to force you to change. It’s up to you if you want a new start.
“Caribbean Mountain Academy truly is a wonderful program that I would recommend to EVERYONE!! The year I spent there was the happiest year of my life, where I learned a lot of good life lessons. The staff there was very caring and helped me get my life turned around and onto a better path. It wasn’t easy, but all of the staff dedicated themselves to bearing with me through the rough times and getting me to a good place, and to become the person I am today. I’m very stubborn and hard-headed, so I admire the patience and determination they had with me! The country is beautiful, the food is delicious, and the local Dominican people are so friendly and welcoming! I didn’t want to leave and I would move back in a heartbeat. I built very good relationships with the staff, the students, and the locals – many of whom I am still in contact with. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be who I am today without the time I spent at Caribbean Mountain Academy. I am so thankful for the chance I had to spend time in the Dominican Republic! I am more than willing to share my experience with anyone who wants to hear it. No program is perfect, but CMA comes pretty darn close! And trust me, I know what a bad program is like. I spent 14 months in one. But CMA is honestly the best program out there! Thank you to all the staff members who helped me learn how to live a better life.”
“Truly a life-changing experience. The hard work of all the staff to put in real one on one personal thoughts and ideas was fantastic. I always knew that there was a side to me that was better than just another “messed up teen.” Although the journey was long and filled with many challenges, I am so happy with the young man I am becoming. There is not a day that goes by where I do not think of all my former peers and staff [at Caribbean Mountain Academy]. There is no greater excitement than discovering God and His work in my life. There is no greater sense of pride than what I feel now as I look back on my past. I went from looking at my past as a kid who got expelled from military school for drug use, to a man who has now graduated high school a year early, is making remarkable accomplishments, and has discovered God, family, and life. For this, I have no words. Simply said, thank you Crosswinds.”
“After starting school here at Caribbean Mountain Academy, I finished high school a year and a half early. When I think about it, it’s just crazy. I can’t believe I really finished high school and I really did things that I never thought I would. One of the biggest lessons I learned here was that I really can have good relationships with people and what good relationships look like and how they affect everyone around me. I really love the staff here because a lot of the time I would get frustrated, but they wouldn’t give up on me or not want to deal with me. And I’m so glad that the staff stuck with me. They kept pursuing me and pushing me to places where they knew I could ultimately go. When I first talked to my family when I came here, I was really angry and really bitter towards them. But after I got past that I started making progress in communicating with my parents. I started being honest and because I was honest with them, we began building trust. Just telling them what was actually going on helped a lot.”
“My life before I came to Caribbean Mountain Academy was bad. I didn’t get along with my parents, I missed a whole year of school, I had really bad friends, I didn’t want to do anything with my life, I didn’t want to go back to school, and I had no plans for my future. I was just messing up consistently, but that was fine with me. I had no desire to be a better person. Being here has changed my perspective on a lot of things. I appreciate my parents now and I see why they did all the things they did—they were trying to protect me. But at the time I didn’t realize that. I think I’ve matured a lot since being here. I’ve done a lot better with accepting my parents authority over me. I’ve also rebuilt my relationship with my mom a lot while I’ve been here. When I first got here I didn’t think this place could do anything for me. And I gave up a couple times along the way. But now seeing the end result, I appreciate all the work that everyone put into me and all the advice and encouragement that everyone gave to me while I was here. I appreciate it all, so thank you.”