New Beginnings Ministries (aka New Beginnings Girls Academy & Rebekah Home for Girls) is a total rip-off and fraud. At this very moment teenage girls and boys are being abused by these people. The parents of the students are being lied to and the students are being brain washed, it is pretty much a cult. (They have been operating since the 1970s under the Roloff Homes in Corpus Christie,Tx) There are very many people that have been affected in a bad way by their experience while attending this facility.
I had the unfortunate opportunity of attending this "academy" for a year and it was complete Hell. There is no freedom whatsoever. Jesus, and the Bible and constantly shoved down your throat and you will be openly rebuked and called "wicked" and "evil" among many other names if you don't conform to their beliefs. The things I saw when I was there were completely horrible. Girls were force-fed, medical needs were not properly taken care of, the school was a total joke and we were made to feel like we were abandoned and worthless and worthless if we weren't 100% on board with their extreme religious antics and rules. [continued below]....
..... They tell you your parents are evil and that you will go to Hell if you don't believe they way they do
I experienced and saw many horrible things when I was there. One time, I recall when two pale skinned girls forced to get a tan because the administrators thought they were trying to be "gothic" and rebel because they didn't want to get a tan like the other girls. They were forced to sit in the sun for 6-8 hours a day with tanning oil all over them and fried in the sun. They got horrible burns and it caused extreme pain, and they were not allowed to tell their parents.
All phone calls and mail going in and out of the school are very strictly monitored, if you say something to your parents that they do not like or say anything about the rules or going home they will cut off your phone call and tell your parents that you are lying or rebeling and haven't received the help you need yet, or make you re-write your letter your sending to your parents. Also if the parent sends a letter to their child that says something they don't like, the letter will be withheld from the child.
The tuition and medical expenses are a complete fraud, and with as much as they have been charging over the years, it would probably make them millionaires. They tote the students around the country, making them sleep on church pews, hard floors, or sometimes on the bus, so the students can sing and testify about how "great" New Beginnings is so they can collect donations and get prospective students. Not to mention all the donations they receive monthly from different churches and supporters around the country.
The food is terrible, they would normally get it for free or cheap from a local food bank and sometimes it would be expired or stored in unfitting conditions with rodents around. If you didn't eat everything they put on your plate you would be in major trouble and receive demerits. If you acquire more than 10 demerits in a week you will be put on 'discipline' which requires you to stand at the end of your bed or on a wall with your hands behind your back and nose touching at all times, only being allowed to sit down for 5 minutes every hour all day except for school, church and meals, where you are made to finish all of your food n 15 minutes (which is bland with no condiments or flavor because you are on discipline) and then go back and stand on your wall or bed. They also make you stay up an hour and half after everyone else has gone to bed with the more trusted girls watching you stand there with your nose on your bed, hands behind your back. Then being rudely awoken at 5:30am after very little sleep having to make your bed perfectly (or more demerits) and then go stand back on your bed, then you are allowed 15 minutes to get yourself completely ready to their standards (or more demerits) without using perfume, straighteners, or anything else they consider a "privilege" to have to get yourself ready with. (because you are on discipline)
Demerits are very easy to get. You can get one for something as little as not facing forward in line, talking, not covering your mouth when you cough, not using the bathroom in your allotted 30 seconds, not getting out of the shower in your allotted six minutes, plus many many more things.
They made us do manual labor, such as roofing, building, and cleaning up human sewage that had backed up all over their property and only being allowed a 10 minute shower. Very disgusting. There was work to do outside almost everyday and no matter if you were suffering in school, if they called you to work, you had to work.
Several people that have gotten out now suffer with PTSD, anxiety, and many other physical and mental health issues that they should not have to suffer with as a result of attending this school. A lot of people that have attended schools like this are now anti-religious and don't want to step foot near a church ever again, they are very damaging. And the sad part is, there are schools operating like this all over the country, this is only one out of hundreds. They are not state regulated so there is no one to go out and check on the students to make sure that they are taken care of and being treated right.
There are so many things I could say, it would take me a week to type it all up but I am writing this report mainly to inform parents to not send their child to New Beginnings Ministries in La Russell, Mo. We have a group of 120+ survivors that are fighting to have them shut down so teenagers can stop being abused. Please feel free to check out the links below, as two major News Sources have already ran articles on this abusive facility. If you are a survivor and would like to join our Facebook group, that link is below, also.
I also encourage you to check out our blogspot site listed below, there is more information and first hand accounts of what life at New Beginnings is like. Thank you for taking the time to read this and my hope is to see this place shut down for good. As my fellow survivor friend said "A childhood memory should not be survival".
ABC News article by Susan Donelson James:
Mother Jones article: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/new-bethany-ifb-teen-homes-abuse
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NBGAsurvivors