Friday, May 31, 2013

Chase in Space

  The esposo, Chris Sugiuchi, is stellar in oh-so-many ways- earlier this month he and his elementary school engineering club sent a weather balloon and camera into the great beyond- a project they named Chase in Space.  It was a family affair- the logo was designed by brother-in-law Scott at Exit 10.  Rocket scientist father-in-law Howard helped with numerous projections.  Child-unit attached a lego mini-figure* and otherwise assisted in the launch and retrieval.  Our wedding march, Also Sprach Zarathustra, played as the balloon ascended, though that was just  awesome coincidence.  Chris' friend and fellow music teacher, Laurie Ragsdale, chose the song.

 The camera collected all types of data (read about it here and here). An editorial on the importance of innovative projects like Chase in Space to excite kids (as opposed to the omnipresent testing overwhelming public education) was published in the Athens Banner Herald.  But my favorite response is the above video- its soundtrack has music from two of Chris' bands- Ham1 and Prince Rondavel. 

*Actual quote from paper: I got to attach my Lego Mandalorian to it. You know, from Star Wars,” Harvey said.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lifeline Youth and Family Services Raising Questions Stateside

Lifeline Youth and Family Services, the organization that took over Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic (renaming it Caribbean Mountain Academy) has had the efficacy of its tactics questioned at one of its Indiana facilities, Pierceton Woods Academy.  Most recently two juveniles left the facility on March 31 and made threats to return with guns.  Last December, one of its students shot a man during a foiled carjacking attempt.

As a former student of Escuela Caribe, a facility isolated in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, I am concerned.  If Lifeline is having these sort of problems here in the States- what is happening in the D.R.- where there is no real oversight?  at least five of the staff were employed by the previous abusive administration.  One of the staff is a former student. What abuses are being used to control the students in the D.R.?

Thanks to Stacey Page Online for being a watchdog here in the U.S.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Red Flag for Caribbean Mountain Academy- Former Students Employed as Staff

The Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA) has a 40 point list of warning signs of potentially abusive facilities. Caribbean Mountain Academy (formerly Escuela Caribe &  Caribe Vista- this facility has a history of changing its name) fulfills many of these (i.e. communication monitored, outside of the U.S., students denied access to telephone, level system etc.).  What troubles me today is that they now are boasting about violating #13- The staff includes former clients/students of the facility. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not making a character attack on the staff member in question.  He's probably a decent guy, a pawn in their game.  He probably cares for the kids- I had several friends who went back as staff- some were great, others were NIGHTMARES.  However, having been a former student, especially a former student under the old order, when Tim Blossom, Phil Redwine, and Jeff Seabrooke were in charge, parents considering CMA need to understand that his norm for what typifies abuse is skewed.  

Also troubling, his answer for what drew him back to the D.R.: 

"God solely drew me back to CMA...Even when I came home after a student I did well in the program...but the day I left and went home...I was back into it...The battle I have from there from all the way up to when I came back to Christ all the way up to when I came back to's just been a crazy story.  I just felt I had something to offer to students.  I had a heart to help. I know how it is when you go home after being in the's one of the toughest times you can endure..I just wanted to help the teenagers here."

For how CMA enacts change in students:

"Culture shock gets them out of their comfort zone..." (note: culture shock is code for brainwashing). 

The answer for how he deals with students anger is revealing because it shows the petty reasons why students are sent to CMA.

I let them verbalize that anger...I let them verbally process what they were doing at home...skipping school or talking back or whatever it may be.

His final thoughts on CMA are taken straight from the Escuela Caribe playbook- lines I once used myself.

If I were never to come down here, I'd be dead right essentially saved my life.