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I thought my daughter Alena was lost to me forever. She had F’s in every class her freshman year of high school. She was involved in a gang, doing drugs, and who knows what else.

Through a series of events, Alena was incarcerated at the local youth detention facility. Her dad, step-mom, and I were trying to find a youth home for her that was far away from Fort Wayne to get her away from the gang she was in.

I spent many days crying and mourning the loss of my daughter. I knew if we sent her away I might never see her again.

But God had other plans. At the detention facility, Alena was given a psych evaluation by a student intern and it was horribly inaccurate – not by my judgment but by her therapist’s opinion. That psych evaluation was so bad that none of the youth homes wanted to admit her to their programs.

We decided to look into a local solution and turned to Gateway Woods. During all of this, I had been let go from General Motors and was unemployed. We didn’t even know if we would be able to afford this lifeline even if they would take Alena. It was a very frightening time in my life.

We made an appointment to talk to the principal about the possibility of Alena coming to Gateway Woods School. At that point he had not read the psych evaluation. By the time we had come for an interview, the psych evaluation had landed on his desk. We were feeling pretty hopeless by then.

When the principal called us after the interview to say that Gateway Woods was willing to take a chance on Alena (when no one else would), I cried, not tears of sadness but tears of relief.

With that hurdle out of the way our next problem was financing. Alena’s dad had very little money and I was unemployed. I would have done just about anything to help pay for this lifeline that had been handed to us. Gateway Woods not only took a big chance on Alena, they helped us fund her expenses as well.

What kind of price can you put on a life saved? As a popular TV commercial says – it’s priceless.

I hold here in my hand Alena’s most recent report card. A+’s and B’s and written across the bottom are the words “honor roll recipient.” I am the proudest mom in the world! But the people who should be most proud of this accomplishment are Alena for her hard work and the staff of Gateway Woods School. They poured their love, biblical principles, and dedication to changing my daughter’s heart.

Alena is a life changed because of the work being done there. She was not only given a good education foundation but a formula for life. Not only did Gateway Woods help to save a life but a family as well.

Thank you staff! You changed our lives and gave us the most precious gift of all, our daughter!

- A Day-Treatment Student's Mom