Meet Duc


When I was twelve, my life started to fall apart. Sometimes I’d get so angry that I blacked out. It was really scary when that would happen, but ‘scary’ didn’t change the way I acted. I’d yell at people whenever I didn’t get my way. I even wound up in juvenile detention after beating someone up and destroying property. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I couldn’t stop. I even thought a lot about hurting myself. It’s really frustrating to feel so messed up. I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know how to ask for it.

When my parents got divorced, my dad fell out of my life. I haven’t seen him in a long time. My mom married a great guy who has two sons of his own. My stepbrothers are good, but I haven’t really gotten to know them. I think they’re scared of me, and I can see why.

My mom was – and still is – really supportive, but she’d get frustrated and upset when I’d act out. She tried to get help for me, but I just wound up bouncing through different hospitals and treatment programs. Nothing worked, and that made me even angrier. It seemed like I was on a merry-go-round that rolled me from place to place, never getting real help… just enough to send me home.

Then someone told my mom about Jackson-Feild. I agreed to go, but I didn’t hold out much hope. Everywhere else I’d been was a waste, so I figured Jackson-Feild would be a waste too.

On my first day on campus, I was told that the plan was to prepare me to leave. So of course I thought, “Yeah… just like everywhere else.” It took a while, but I found out that Jackson-Feild was different and better.

My therapist and case manager were great. They helped me see how I was making my own problems by refusing to trust others. We talked a lot about how hard it is for me to make friends and how I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a true friend. They encouraged me to get involved in the activities on campus, and I learned it’s a lot more fun to be involved than it is to stand by and watch. The arts & crafts program was my favorite, but the spiritual and recreation programs were really good, too.

After finishing my treatment, I was sent home where things were great for a while. But then some of the same old issues came up and I started acting out again. My mom was so upset that I relapsed. She called Jackson-Feild for help and they agreed that I could – and should – go back.

My therapist and case manager asked me how I felt about coming back, and I was surprised to admit that I was excited. Jackson-Feild treats me right.

I know that I need to stop harming myself, and I need to learn coping skills to manage my anger issues.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but when I grow up, I want to be a counselor or therapist so that I can help other people like me. Thanks to Jackson-Feild, I think that’s a goal I can reach. I plan to try.


Meet Sherry

jfh_success_stories_sherrySherry is a very interesting young lady. She is extremely bright but had shut down upon arriving on our campus. She had absolutely no motivation to help herself. She was content to ride freight trains around the countryside.

Sherry had a myriad of mental health problems including ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), depression, self-mutilation and oppositional disorder. Several times, she had been hospitalized for psychiatric treatment.

Her father has been out of the picture for years. Her mother has a long history of mental illness and she is very distrusting of therapists – both of which impacted Sherry.

Sherry was sexually active, abused drugs and alcohol, and was a chronic runaway. She had been before the juvenile court on three occasions for minor offenses which caused her to come into the custody of the social services department in her Western Virginia community.

Her school performance was abysmal due to the fact that she was seldom in school.  Sherry had extremely poor insight into herself and into her problems. She placed the blame for her difficulties on others.

She did not participate in our Spiritual Program and only reluctantly participated in her therapy.  One of Sherry’s intervention strategies was STEPPS (Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving) – a systems approach for treating clients with Borderline Personality Disorders (BPD).  The goal in STEPPS is to learn management skills for both emotions and behaviors. Histories of children with BPD often show that they received inconsistent nurturing and emotional support — even abuse — by caregivers.  STEPPS allowed Sherry to understand that she can understand and manage her feelings and behaviors.

Our educators realized early on that Sherry was extremely bright, but in spite of her intellect she was well behind in her education due to a lack of supervision and oversight. We started her on a fast track to receive her GED. Once motivated, Sherry invested herself in her education by studying. She started taking college classes. She tested for her GED, and Principal Bill Bowling noted that she received the highest score he ever encountered in his long-tenured career.

Sherry returned home and the plan is for her to continue her studies at a local community college.


After leaving Jackson-Feild, I see things in a different way. I am on the way to the Job Corps, have obtained my learner’s permit & have a better relationship with my family.

– Jackson-Feild Alumna