Northwestern Academy marks 10th anniversary

Oct 24, 2008 Full story: The News Item 222

"Making a dream come true." That was the unofficial theme of Thursday's ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the founding of Northwestern Academy, a juvenile justice rehabilitative facility in the ...

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dmcoaltwnsp

Shamokin, PA

#184 Oct 9, 2012
SGT wrote:
One more thing I'd like to add...Most of these posting you read here are from those whom actually spent time at NHS. First, they must have done something really bad or have been bad to be placed there! If they didn't care about anyone or anything then, and still don't now...why would you believe what they have to say? Apparently they've been disrespectful and still are! NHS is an excellent program. It may not change all the lives of every child that comes there but has a high success rate. The child him/herself must complete the program and change, not the staff. NHS could be a way better program with a perfect success rate if they only made some changes with the supervisors and certain staff members. They're a joke! I agree with the one comment made that NHS does indeed have a "HUG A THUG" program. If anything, they are too easy on the kids at times. Also, personally I believe that the 8-1 ratio (8 kids to 1 staff member) is a joke too. They need more staff members that will be able to spend more time with the kids one on one to honestly help them with their problems. But if they hired more staff then that's less money the bigshots will be making. It is very expensive to keep somone there at NHS and yeah it is all about money there too!
your quite the joke apparently-my husband worked there and had to quit because he could not stand the way the kids were treated. Most of the staff that work there are just a bunch a lowlifes who never got anywhere in life so they have to take out their frustrations on the kids that are residing there. I am sure you ate one of those employees also considering what you are saying. I don't know if anyone realizes it or not but there is a major investigation going on with that place and there are gonna be a lot of people on the same boat the juvenile system is in at luzerne county. Northwestern is a big corrupt joke just like the whole county is!!!!
concerned citizen

Scranton, PA

#185 Nov 6, 2012
How can they say this is a good program when they hire convicted felons as their casewokers? The staff brings in contraband for the kids, steal their items and sell them on the outside. This has been reported and of course nothing is done, shame on the staff and the administrators. I think it is about time this was made public with names and dates. They should take a good hard look at their employess and see what type of impression they make!
Former_Cadet

Berwick, PA

#186 Nov 12, 2012
I was at NWA Boot Camp in 2001. I was 17. I got into trouble using drugs. This place was "intended" for kids who had a "Problem with authority." I NEEDED HELP!!!! I did not get any at NWA. I had a problem with drugs and my "rehabilitative treatment" consisted of a 1 hour Drug & Alcohol group per week. The was no one on one counseling. I was in very good physical shape when I arrived, so the physical training (carrying 10 foot telephone poles)was not as difficult for me as it was for many others. There were probably 30 other "cadets" in my barracks. Several of them were 300+ lbs. They were forced to do this crazy PT. We were corralled into the showers naked in groups of 10 or so. I graduated with the top rank and was considered to be a "success." Within a week of getting released, I was using drugs again. I have since straightened my life out and earned two college degrees in Social Work. If you are a parent of a child in NWA Boot Camp... BE WORRIED!! If you are a judge or probabtion officer.. DON'T SEND KIDS HERE!!! The problem stems from the fact that NWA is a private FOR-PROFIT facility. It's all about the money. our kids will not get the help they need here... I promise!
Anonymous

Huntingdon, PA

#193 Dec 1, 2012
I was a cadet at Northwestern Academy boot camp.I was there for four mounts graduating as a corporal. This boot camp teaches discipline,respect,honor,and how to function appropriately.It builds self confidence and mental and psychical strength.I WAS THERE I would recommend the Northwestern Academy boot camp to any one with a troubled teen.Now don't get me wrong this is not a place for teddy bears hugs and play time this is a place that will take your troubled teen and show him and teach him that he can contribute and be an active member and a contributing factor of society.If this is what you want from your child then Northwestern Academy boot camp is what you need.
Anonymous

Huntingdon, PA

#194 Dec 1, 2012
This is for Former_Cadet in Danville, PA. 10 "or so"in the latreem There are six shower stalls you have your towel on in till you are in your shower there is nothing indecent there and second if you did graduate at corporal status and went back to drugs after leaving the hill then that was your choice.Others have left and succeeded but you don't hear about them.I am a supporting bravo bull dog at 28 and still use the teachings of the drill sergeants and one particular senior drill sergeant today.
Renew420

Philadelphia, PA

#195 Dec 11, 2012
northwestern is great tonyas a hottie nd metzgers the man only thing I learned their tho
NWA Grad

Altoona, PA

#196 Jan 1, 2013
I went to Northwestern Academy a while back as a juvenile. I was sentenced to 4 months but ended up being incarcerated for a total of 2 years. First, let me say that the experience overall changed my life in such a profound way that I haven't gotten into trouble since and have completely steered clear of any trouble since. Secondly lets address some of the questions I read above which were posted out of concern from parents and the like. From first hand experience, let me tell you that the facility(s) is set up and run almost identically to a modern take on army or any military training environment during "hell week". There are 3 "barracks" on the top of the hill which ARE the detention facility. There is a maximum security building also on top of the hill and a minimum security unit at the bottom. The max secure as its called, though set up to be more regimented and "locked down" is no where near as bad as the actual boot camp.
The Max secure is a place where the kids are locked down for most of the day in clean rooms and given adequate food and they basically watch movies most the time and the other time they are involved in inadequate schooling and cell lock down with a bunk-mate; in a word, jail. The boot camp is split into 3 barracks which are called red, white, and blue. Each barracks has a commander or "Captain" and under him are various underlings which have ranks such as drill sergeant, senior drill sergeant, staff sergeant, etc. Most of the staff are in fact military and all treat the cadets as if there were enlisted in the military. This can be bad or good and pretty much depends on how much they dislike you. For example, I was singled out by a few drill sergeants who labeled me "sweets" and made me do things like strip down to nothing in front of the entire barracks and "p.t." (physically train) until I would regurgitate then make me clean it up and start exercising again; repeating the process. The cadets are able to gain rank over time. I wouldn't count on getting anything along the lines of information about abuse or tips from the children or staff as the staff all know the deal and the children are constantly watched and warned often of what would happen if they said anything. Often a cadet would be pulled out of a bunk in the middle of the night and led into the showers to receive a beating. There were 3 children there who were at least seriously injured when I attended. Two of them were escapees who ran for most of the night before being caught. Early in the morning we all were out front saluting the flag (all three barracks) as we watched staff lead them back bloodied and unable to walk under their own power; basically being dragged in a bloody heap. Also a cadet came into the barracks one day and refused to take the strut out of his step. This of course wasn't taken to kindly by a drill sergeant who grabbed him by the buttocks and back of the neck and dragged his face across a carpet giving him a rug burn on his face which permanently changed the color of half of his face. Now most of the things about this place, as previously mentioned, were military structured. 3 minutes to eat (chow), no looking at any staff in the eye (eyeballing), no talking...ever (chatter), 3 minutes to "shit, shower, and shave" (the 3 S's), and of course there's the literal hours and hours and HOURS of physical labor and exercise (referred to lovingly as "burning" someone or P.T.). Now this made one heck of a rocking body if you made it out, but it really sucked in the meantime. I can't tell you how hard the normal day was and I cant describe how hard it was to successfully finish the program. I couldn't speak to my mother or family about anything because the staff was always around to hear. Now, lets not forget; this is punishment for something and although I hated every minute of it I would go through it again but only because it was so horrible it scared me straight. Never again I said and I am a teacher today.
Tyler Durden

Central Islip, NY

#198 Jan 29, 2013
Ive been reading this off and on for awhile now. Let me start by saying there is nobody who is innocent at this dump. The kids are terrible for the most part, the staff are either the unemployed needing a paycheck or entry level college students or recent graduates looking to add something to their resume.

People complain about staff sticking together against the kids. What would you expect? Most dorms have 3 staff to 16 kids. You need to watch each others backs, sorry. Now then you also have alot of shady garbage going on at this place. I was personally involved in a case involving another staff and child abuse. I did the right thing and told the truth and was subsequently terminated for it.

Now with the kids. Many of them are simply monsters and should be locked up, some should have never been there. Or should have been there for a much shorter time due to the staff who have all the power to keep these kids there with logging fictitious actions and resttraining kids for no reason and it happens more than you know. But then there is the problem is most of you parents have no clue what your kids have done, they confide in those of us who did care. I cant count how many times I had a kid tell me he masturbated to his little sister or his mother, would hint at being sexually assaulted, abused by the sick disgusting parents who show up every week or call every visit. So many of these kids have animal fetishes. Kids who cry out by cutting themselves. You simply dont know what your own children are capable of or what they have done.

So it is what it is. The staff and management is crooked. The kids are monsters and scattered in there you have some awesome staff who care and some amazing kids. Im glad to have met some of these chidren and hopefully made a positive influence in their lives.
anthony schaffer

Cheshire, CT

#199 Feb 3, 2013
I was in abyss dorm and that place straightened me out big time and I been out sense 2007 I was there 3 years and it not that bad there
Employee of nhs

Collegeville, PA

#200 Feb 28, 2013
This place sucks. The supervisors lie right to the employees faces. They tell you one thing and something different happens. The supervisors and directors are complete dipshits and are very degrading to the women employees that's work there. I had a supervisor touch me to get something out of my pocket I talked to the director and told him I felt violated he made excuses for him and nothing was done about it. The kids are treated fine there they do get cursed at but not hit or pushed. They get treated better then the employees.
Mathew frymoyer

Fayetteville, PA

#201 Jun 11, 2013
In the three months that I spent in the v.c.o.r.e program it was living hell.. The staff enjoyed just slamming kids for no reason, talk shit on them saying their parents don't care about them and don't want to see them again and they should just live the rest of their live in placement or jail cause they would have no one to go home to. Probation are just as crooked as the places they sen them to, they are also low lifes that just need a paycheck. I fear getting into trouble and go back cause this time I would probably go crazy. I feel for kids that are. Currently are in the vcore program and wish you stay strong mentally and physically therefore getting out on your set date!
Mathew frymoyer

Fayetteville, PA

#202 Jun 11, 2013
Employee of nhs wrote:
This place sucks. The supervisors lie right to the employees faces. They tell you one thing and something different happens. The supervisors and directors are complete dipshits and are very degrading to the women employees that's work there. I had a supervisor touch me to get something out of my pocket I talked to the director and told him I felt violated he made excuses for him and nothing was done about it. The kids are treated fine there they do get cursed at but not hit or pushed. They get treated better then the employees.
. I remember you, you do not have to lie on here about the crooked things thy happened up there I watched you see them abuse kids,,, see people even the ex staff members are scared...
Tina

Cherry Hill, NJ

#203 Jul 28, 2013
My nephew has been there for 6 months and I've never seen him so happy. He matured, is respectful and most of all sorry for all he's done to hurt us through the years. He is graduating from the program soon and starting college. He applied for grants and even graduated from high school and received his diploma at Northwestern Academy.

Blondie wrote:
"making a dream come true" Has anyone actually been there? Don't believe everything you read. These guys torment the kids up there. They push them ,shove them , hit them ,spit at them , call them names, they are mortified and humiliated. Is this what we think a form of punishment is for juveniles ? These kids need guidance , love and understanding. Not humiliation. trust me I have been there visiting , theses guys who are in charge are horrible representatives of what our judicial system portrays. They tell parents that they are well taken care of up there, they have 15 mins to eat, and they have to eat everything or they are punished, move there bowels in 10 minutes or they are subjected to a beating or what ever they feel is justified in there eyes. shower 10 minutes or they are punished in what ever form deemed good in theses so called OFFICERS
eyes.Whatever you do I hope your kid doesn't wind up there its awful. These kids are supposingly being disciplined and getting help......NONE OF THIS IS GOING ON UP THERE!!!!!!!! This place makes no dreams come true..Not for the juveniles or the parents!You leave there feeling like you are going to throw up.
Ex-staff

Saint Clair, PA

#204 Aug 23, 2013
A Loving Mom wrote:
I think you are the ONLY kid that went through this boot camp who actually had nice things to say. Capt. Hackenburg is NOT a nice lady, she is extremely rude and even insulted ME, the mom of a cadet there on several occasions. You obviously must have been a "favorite" and got preferential treatment.
<quoted text>
That's because he was a model student and one of the most respectful individuals I ever met in my life.
Mom of Former Cadet

Johnstown, PA

#205 Aug 23, 2013
I find your comment completely shocking! My son was there for 3 months and it was 3 months of PURE HELL! Not only was the staff ignorant jerks, the staff was incredibly rude to me and my family. Unless something has drastically changed in the past year, I think this kid is either a "favorite" or he is lying to you. Either way, I wish the the best of luck to him.
Ex-staff

Saint Clair, PA

#206 Aug 24, 2013
Mom of Former Cadet wrote:
I find your comment completely shocking! My son was there for 3 months and it was 3 months of PURE HELL! Not only was the staff ignorant jerks, the staff was incredibly rude to me and my family. Unless something has drastically changed in the past year, I think this kid is either a "favorite" or he is lying to you. Either way, I wish the the best of luck to him.
Well, considering you're using ignorant in the wrong context, I'm not really a jerk nor would I be to a complete stranger, unless deserving. I can't speak for everyone that worked there but I was professional while enforcing visitation rules(the majority of student / family contact I had), this may come off as rude so some individuals. Don't talk about people you don't know. It's not polite. Who are you to judge someone you have spent zero time with anyway? Just putting that out there.
Mom of Former Cadet

Johnstown, PA

#207 Aug 25, 2013
Well, Ex Staff, why don't you tell the this forum about how the kids get treated, i.e spit in the face; pushed around; made to stand in the yard holding a book for hours at a time; making them run laps until they throw up, etc.? My son was there when the staff threw a boy to the ground so hard it broke his arm! I physically saw the young man with a cast on up to his shoulder, when I went for a visit with son. Do you think that is professional? Do you think that behavior of the staff was appropriate?
My son had to go to counseling after he got out of this place. Things went on in that facility that he still can't talk to me about and he is 20 years old! So, Ex-Staff, I ask you to confirm or deny what I wrote that happens in that facility.
It's a shame to see that you are an ex staff, since you are so professional and not like the other staff members there, it's a shame that hell hole is minus one actual, professional person.
Ex-staff

Brooklyn, NY

#208 Aug 25, 2013
Mom of Former Cadet wrote:
Well, Ex Staff, why don't you tell the this forum about how the kids get treated, i.e spit in the face; pushed around; made to stand in the yard holding a book for hours at a time; making them run laps until they throw up, etc.? My son was there when the staff threw a boy to the ground so hard it broke his arm! I physically saw the young man with a cast on up to his shoulder, when I went for a visit with son. Do you think that is professional? Do you think that behavior of the staff was appropriate?
My son had to go to counseling after he got out of this place. Things went on in that facility that he still can't talk to me about and he is 20 years old! So, Ex-Staff, I ask you to confirm or deny what I wrote that happens in that facility.
It's a shame to see that you are an ex staff, since you are so professional and not like the other staff members there, it's a shame that hell hole is minus one actual, professional person.
I did say that I couldn't speak for everyone that worked there. I treated those kids how I expected to be treated by them. I'm almost positive that those feelings were met mutually.
LostCause570

Schuylkill Haven, PA

#209 Aug 28, 2013
chris840 wrote:
It is horrible, the things I've been reading. But unfortunately for my nephew, this is the last stop for him and I hope this will teach him what his life has in store for him if he continues down this road. He is now 17, and a criminal in every sense of the word. Lies, steals (from his family) hits his mother, does whatever drug he could get his hands on. Takes his little brothers lunch money, christmas/birthday presents, I could go on and on. This form of punishment, for him, is what he needs to possibly save his life. The people who he associates with don't treat him any better. my heart does go out for the children who don't deserve that though. Although I hope that experience is enough to keep any of them from from ever going back.
I know I sound cruel, but my nephew has been sent away to at least 10 different places in the past three years with no results. He plays the game to get through it and is right back to his old ways as soon as he gets home.
I am this mans nephew and i did spend time, 9 months to be exact in this facility. I was admitted because of the drug addiction i have that still haunts everything i do in my life today. i want to start out by saying that the way this man made me sound probably is the truth. but this man wonders why ive never changed? in times of need, i didnt need his judgement, as you just read, i needed his back. None of the cruel things ive ever done have been because im a monster, theyve been done because i feel a need to escape reality. after all, it is in reality that your own family will turn on you quicker than your friends will, the same friends he talked about me having in his post.
this facility robbed me off a soul. thats all i have to say. it is no place for treatment. trust me on that.
deenf63

San Bruno, CA

#210 Sep 21, 2013
/QUOTE] My son went there. He wouldn't be the man he is today if he didn't go. As a matter of fact, He would be in jail now. They learn discipline, control of emotion (anger management), respect for themselves and for others. Learned how to stay self diciplined and organized. My son and I were just talking about it today. He agrees that it was the best thing for him although, he had to go through the program twice. Thats 6mos. But now he is a very hard working, self reliant, wonderful father and a great man.

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