The Note on the Dresser

Sarena Wahl Profile
Article by Sarena Wahl
Assistant Houseparent

"To say that prayer changes things is not as close to the truth as saying, prayer changes me!" Oswald Chambers

Neil arrived into residential placement at Gateway Woods with a growing list of felonies including: resisting arrest, fleeing and auto theft. Six months later, Neil returned home with a commitment to finish high school along with his own mode of transportation - a moped he purchased from his money earned at Gateway. Neil left a letter silently placed on his bedroom dresser.

Dear: Pine House Parents

Thank you for everything you guys have done for me. Thank you for showing me kindness and love. Before I came here, I was 15 and was on my way to boy school because I had just pled guilty to four felonies. And I already had two prior felonies. So, I prayed every night in juvenile for three months. I asked God to make the best decision possible, whether it was boy school or not. And God blessed me by sending me here.

When I first got here I really didn't know what to think of these 'Houseparents'. I had never heard of a Houseparent. It sounded kinda weird. But after a while I got used to it. It wasn't so bad here after all. I will definitely miss all the food.

This place changed my life. I was able to see how you guys live compared to how I was living. I seen huge things I have to work on. And I will continue to make changes. I will try to remember all the advice I got here (a lot). Thank you for all the help and support you guys gave me. I will miss you guys when I leave. I appreciate everything all of you have done for me.


Sarena is currently an Assistant Houseparent at Gateway Woods.