Reviews and Comments about Shepherds Hill Academy
Notice: Negative reviews and comments you may read on online review sites are from people who were never a part of our program (though they say they were). Mostly coming from avowed atheists, their goal is to write negative comments about every Christian boarding school program to close them all down. Please allow us to put you in touch with parents who currently have or recently had a child in our program to give you a true review. A few such comments are below. Their complete names are withheld here for their privacy. Thank you.
Also, check out what parents and students say in our video testimonials.
“By the time we decided to send our daughter, Megan, to Shepherds Hill Academy we had by then spent over two years trying to get her back on the right track. Our daughter was always a very loving and sweet child who was involved in many school and church activities. However, towards the end of eighth grade her grades went down and her behavior began to change as she lost interest in church and school activities. By the time she was in ninth grade she became very involved with boys, drinking and drugs. She would sneak out of the house at night. This continued into tenth grade when she became involved in a theft at school. All during this time we battled with her with contracts and consequences, but nothing seemed to work. We spent two years working with therapists, but she just fooled them and herself into believing nothing was wrong with her behavior; she just couldn’t live with us as we were so unreasonable.
As time went on living with her became a nightmare for the whole family. Her behavior was having a negative influence on her younger sisters and she would not admit or take any responsibility for her decisions or actions.
As hard as it was to give our daughter to people we didn’t know, to spend a year of her life while still a child without her family, we had decided this was her last hope to have any life and future. She needed what SHA could offer — a chance to get away from all the distractions of the world and focus on what God intended for her life. At SHA Megan went from defiant and disrespectful to remorseful, appreciative, loving and forming a relationship with Christ. Megan even requested to be baptized. Seeing the transformation in her was miraculous. The peace and love that we felt during our visits to see Megan at SHA was encouraging to us that Megan wasn’t missing out on her childhood, but rather she was getting it back while at SHA. She was enjoying the simple pleasures of life again.
Megan appreciates her family now and the love they have for her. It didn’t take long to see that SHA was changing Megan, but what we didn’t expect is how our whole family would be changed for the better by this experience. We all saw how we could make more room for God in our lives. We cannot thank SHA enough for giving back to us the daughter we always dreamed we would have. The distractions of the real world are still challenging. But remembering the experiences and the lessons learned at SHA for dealing with these challenges is going to make the difference in Megan’s life.
We cannot thank SHA enough for what they have done for our family. God is truly working through SHA to change hearts and lives for families in crisis.”
– John & Diane
“We felt like we lost our youngest son Randall to the drug culture and the lifestyle that goes with it at the young age of 15. He had decided to drop out of school and leave home. My wife and I turned to God and prayed for the answer on what to do next. We felt led to find a Christ-based program for our son and we prayed for guidance. Even though we looked at several options we felt most comfortable with the staff and approach of Shepherds Hill Academy. We took Randall to Shepherd’s Hill against his will and he did not want to be there for quite a while. Through it all he did know that the staff loved him and once the drugs were out of his system you could see God begin to change him. Each month we could see him getting stronger in his walk and we began to really enjoy being together. Randall was there for 14 months and when he finished the school year we were all so excited to have him home. Shepherd’s Hill was definitely the turning point in Randall’s life and we thank God each day for getting our son back. What the devil has meant for evil God has turned into something very good. Our whole family is much closer to God and to each other through this experience. God Bless.”
– Mitch and Rhonda
“I’ve thought about writing this more times than I can count, but I can’t ever seem to get what’s in my heart on paper! At the therapist’s recommendation, I searched for a therapeutic boarding school for several weeks. Every time I spoke with someone I was literally sick to my stomach. When I finally gave the search to God, told Him I couldn’t do this, I needed Him to show me – boy He showed me! A new website pulled up – I had done the same search word for weeks! Trace answered and spoke with me the first time I called. I knew God had answered my prayers.
Leaving Jessica at SHA was one of the hardest things I have ever or will ever do in my life. I realize that although Jessica is my daughter she is really Gods and He knows far more than I do and is very capable of taking care of her without me. Well, He used each of you to do just that.
Thank you for allowing God to use you in the lives of these kids! I know that you sacrifice much of your personal time, and lives to minister to the kids and their families. Have you ever seen the show Extreme Makeover? Where a family is really struggling and the show comes in and tears their house down and builds them a brand new beautiful one? They usually get a few more surprises throughout the show. Well, I think God has done an Extreme Makeover on (or in) Jess’s heart-He got to all of the yuk-cleaned it out and began to build it again with things of Him. The time in the woods-away from the world, away from us-allowed that to happen. She’s not perfect ,never will be and I don’t expect her to be. She will stumble but she is striving to honor God in all that she does, in her thoughts, speech, actions and attitudes. She is now humble enough to admit when she’s wrong and ask for forgiveness to extend mercy and grace to others as Christ has offered it to her. We communicate – not always agreeing, but communicating in love. She accepts instruction and correction with a very respectful and submissive heart attitude.
God not only worked on Jess’s heart, but the time away from Jess allowed Him to work on mine and Stuarts; well on a lot of people in our family. There was much healing that took place. God showed me I had some pride issues I needed to get rid of. He really revealed to me areas of my life I needed to work on-how and what I communicate, extending the same love that God extends to me to others-Even when it’s really hard! Being a better listener. The list could go on and on. I feel like I’m rambling anyway. We are all much more spiritually and emotionally healthy. Jessica has come home off of all the medication she was on. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp how much she has changed! She knows how much each of you truly loves her. It was very difficult for her to leave you! She loves you all very much. She knows that God will use her past and her experience in some way for His Glory and she is willing to be used by Him. Know how grateful to God I am for bringing SHA to our lives.”
– Much love, Tami
“My husband and I would highly recommend SHA to any parent with a teenager who is having self-esteem, anger, and disrespect for authority and academic/social skill problems. The wilderness program helped our boys to learn valuable life lessons such as planning ahead, cooking/cleaning, respect for rules/boundaries, respect for themselves and others, the consequences of bad decisions, problem-solving and communication skills, and that they were loved no matter what their problems were. The transition program continued the supervision, but added the dimensions of more freedom, accountability sessions, re-integration into the family, college plans, job applications, budgeting, etc. We were impressed with the dedication of the SHA professionals, who were committed to helping our boys succeed. A family friend who has been our educational consultant since the boys were in grade school has visited SHA on two occasions, and was impressed with the quality of the academics offered by Shepherds Hill Academy. Trace and Beth Embry are wonderful Christian role models, and ensure a positive, encouraging, therapeutic environment.”
“Shepherds Hill Academy has become a part of my family. I have seen Josh transform from a self serving, self gratifying boy to an appreciative man willing to serve others. Trace, Beth, Rebecca, Eric, William and the staff are without a doubt doing God’s work. The Holy Spirit’s presence is all over SHA. Not only has my son Josh grown in the Lord for being at SHA, my entire family has also. I am very thankful for the opportunity to become a part of SHA.”
“Everyone, from the first email and phone call, have shown a heart to serve. They’re prayerfully finding ways to minister to our son and whole family as partners.”
– KN, Florida
“We can say nothing but great things about the whole experience. Our boys truly benefited from the positive, nurturing environment, and the intimate, but challenging academic program. Each child learned his limits & strengths, respect for authority, the importance of an education, and are self-confident young men.”
– LT Baton Rouge LA
“Shepherds Hill began healing my family. We learned how God meant for our family to work, with the husband leading and the wife as his support, and all of us seeking God in every decision.”
– JR Georgia
“My husband and I felt God’s Love at SHA and the staff was wonderful and caring.”
– SC Hastings, NE
“Can anyone know God’s will all the time? Why can the things that seem to be doing the most to accomplish His will fall by the wayside and not be protected with His strong hand? The people who stretch themselves thin to help those in need with little or nothing to do it with are always on the front line battling not only the things of this world but the things that are unforeseen as well. It would be scary for those things I speak of to be visible to us as believers and maybe even scarier to those who are not believers but pave paths for them to corrupt and destroy. Being blind in our actions cause havoc to prosper and the good to fail in their attempts.
Shepherds Hill Academy has been a beacon of hope for many whose lives were turned upside down by the evils of this world at tremendous costs. I’m sure that all who have experienced the rebirth of their wayward child never look back at the cost, only the blessings bestowed upon them having surrendered it. My son was a Christian and lived in a Christian home but was still claimed as a victim to the inane thinking of our times. Do I worry about him now that I have him back? All the time. Could he fall back into the same snares? Not likely, because of the love and understanding that was poured out onto him at Shepherds Hill Academy – he now knows this part of his enemy’s attack strategy.
The walls that were created to shut us out were knocked down at SHA. Could he fall in some other way, maybe but if he remains true to his faith and lets God guide and lead him, he will be okay. The power of the Holy Spirit is strong at SHA – why do you think it is being attacked? The only true threats are the ones that are attacked relentlessly and made to look other than what it actually is.
I have been there with my son — sitting in a psychiatric hospital with my son spewing profanities at both my wife and I saying, “I don’t want to hear any of that God stuff” and him threatening to commit suicide when the Holy Spirit and prayer was the only option to save him from being taken from us. Whether you believe in that God stuff or not, He is real and loves you and your family. The enemy wants you to be forsaken and hopeless – SHA is one of God’s safe havens and can show you and your child the love of Christ. The world wants us to make decisions based on what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears but God speaks to your heart of hearts. You will know the truth because it will set you free from the bondage of the enemy and a peace will come over you – all you have to do is set foot on SHA and you will understand what I mean. May God bless SHA, Trace & Beth Embry, all their staff and you and your child.”
“My parents gave me a second chance to live when I came to Shepherds Hill Academy! I may not have known it when I got there; but, that’s because I was spiritually dead. Then, as the days turned to weeks and months, I started to come alive again! This place changed my life, from my relationships with my parents, to myself. If I could go back in time and change anything, I wouldn’t.”
– DM, Michigan
“Shepherds Hill Academy has been a time in which I have been equipped with tools in which I can live my life for the Lord. Here I found where my identity lies – and that is in Christ. Without the guidance of SHA, I would be in a lot of trouble and I can honestly say that Shepherds Hill Academy has changed my life for the better.”
– JP, New York
“Growing up, I was a problem child, always getting in trouble with, not only my parents, but a couple of times with the law. I lived for the parties, the drugs, the alcohol, and the sex. But, since coming to SHA, I have found God and a new way of life. Like they say, ‘Seek the truth and it will set you free.'”
– AB, Wisconsin
“The reason I came to Shepherds Hill Academy was because I got into drugs and was very disrespectful to my mom. When I came, I absolutely hated it, and I wanted to go home to my friends. Now, I am extremely thankful for my mom sending me here; because, if she didn’t, I would probably be dead. I came to know Christ at SHA. Since then, life has been filled with joy and happiness.”
– LL, Nevada
“I was always doing drugs, having sex, and drinking alcohol. When I first came to SHA I did not agree with what they were telling me. But, now my eyes are open. I see what they are saying to me–that God is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He will set you free!”
– ID, California
“Looking back upon it, SHA was one of the best things that happened to me during my youth. I am privileged to be able to return to minister to the youth, to those whose path I have once walked.”
– RS, Georgia
“I have learned perseverance and what respect and love really are. I never knew what love really was before I came here. It is so much more than the superficial; it is so much deeper, its about sacrifice.”
– JB, Minnesota
“I want to thank God for saving me and giving me a second chance at life. I have grown so much since I have gotten here. I mean, here I am graduating high school and going to college.”
– LB, Atlanta, GA