This is a facebook message I got from a former shelterwood resident who got pulled from the program a few months ago. This was extremely encouraging for be bc I feel like most of the time we don’t really get to see a whole lot of heart change in the kids. And it can get discouraging so when something good happens we learn to share I with everyone to help keep things positive…

FERGUSON!!! What’s up? I was talking too a few of my friends here in ******
bout shelterwood and how the worst parts were the restraints they put us in when we flipped out and instantly thought of you( cause next too Hughes) you had the most painful restraints! But on a foreal note, the talks I had with you were life changing, I can honestly say I’ve never been in a place where I’ve felt so much love. I miss shelterwood like crazy!! I wish I had understood the chance I was given too make things better in my life. Please tell all the littles too make their time there count cause if they don’t they will look back on their moment at shelterwood with discouragement thinking the same thing I was. I did take some lessons away from there though, I learned that god throws difficult tasks and difficult trials not too trip us up or too watch us fall, he does it too see if you will ask him too help you up. You really did show me love even at my worst, I look back and sometimes wonder how you didn’t just punch me in the face sometimes. You always showed me love and never left me too fend for myself. My parents split a few weeks after they pulled me (I live with my brother and dad) and it took me every last ounce of strength too not turn back too my old habits, a lot of that strength came from prayer and the advice you have me too keep movin forward even when it seems hopeless . Now I can say I am a bright kid, a kid who accepts himself and accepts others. I have a strong relationship with god and I owe part of that too you. I remember talkin about religion with you in the middle of a storm one night while I was meditating. You gave me millions of reasons for god while I gave maybe 4 foolish reasons for Buddhism. You didn’t put me down for trying too be Buddhist (like some of the littles) you didn’t criticize, you let me do my own thing and then when I needed you (even though I didn’t know it at the time) you were there. I remember mountain biking on the trails and eating it thousands of times, wanting too turn back and you pushed me forward, I remember cuttin through all the brush makin the trails and I was goin on and on with crazy ideas of tree houses and buildin somethin in that bus back there and I swear you listened too every last word where as most people would’ve told me too calm down or just straight told me too shut up. I am still that squirrel from over the hedge lol. But even during restraints when tensions were high and I gave you no reason too respect me or show any love towards me it felt like it almost pained you just as much as it pained me too have too restrain me. Even while I cussed and screamed you tried too calm me down. When I was openly defiant you respected me. I wish I could have the shelterwood experiance over again, I would take my time there alot more seriously but I wanted too send you a message saying I truly am thankful for everything you did for me there and I am truly sorry for all the stuff I put you through cause honestly I probably gave you the worst of me just cause you were in the the higher position of the house. Happy New Years fergi hit me up when you can or even better text me at *********when you get the chance. Tell all the littles I said hi and tell em too get what they can because they might not relize it yet but one day once they’re gone they will either look back and say, “that experiance was the hardest but I got the most out of that place” or “I wish I had done it right the first time.” You are a true blessing fergi I guarantee you there is a kid in there right now who needs someone and you are the man too help him, cause I was that kid and you were the first too help me on my first day at shelterwood.

Hit me up soon bro,

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