Family Foundation School / Allynwood Academy
CLOSED (August 2014)




Amy L B

(Full name has been redacted as requested for privacy, although the TRUTH Campaign has verified the identity of alumni)

My name is Amy L Bl**s and I was enrolled at the school from September 17, 2006 (roughly) to July 31, 2007.

I was brought to the Family Foundation School after getting kicked out of 3 others. I was always running away, missing for weeks at a time at some points. The Family Foundation School was a last resort for my family. By my first 15 minute talk with the Psychiatrist I was diagnosed with Bipolar, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Severe Depression, Night Terrors, Drug and Alcohol Addiction, Sex Addictoin, and many more. I was put on about 6 medications, 3 in the morning and 3 at night. I was on 50mg of Zoloft for Depression as well as many others I cant remember. I know that one was given to me after "Prayer Time" which is a 15 minute spirtual reading and meditaion before we went to the dorms where we slept. I had to to these medications after prayer time because they made me fall asleep with in 5 minuets of using them. They would knock me out to the point where, I am ashamed to say at 17 years old I woke up and I had pissed my bed. I asked to be taken off these med's but was not allowed.'

At arriving at the school, I walking in and thought, "Everyone looks happy, there are no uniforms, it is clean, and everyone is so friendly- and im not in the woods anymore." They told me they had to look through my things, as well as myself to make sure I didn't have any drugs, etc. as they showed my Mom and Aunt the school, and I would be able to say good-bye to them later. I went into the girls locker room and was forced to get naked, squat and cough and shower while they looked through my things- most of which I couldn't have. I remember walking out of there feeling sick, but not knowing ehat to expect.

All these rules were being told to me- such as, if someone tells you that you cannot do something (ex: swear, you HAVE to respond with "yes thank you". if you didnt there would be punishments.). I remember seeing my Mother walked out with tears in her eyes as they told me she "just left". In all actuality they told her she woundn't be able to see me for a minimum of 3 months. The rest of the first couple of days are a blur, although I do remember thinking - 18 months?!?!??! or you can leave when you 18....? Well it is only 10 months untill I am 18 and from the 1st day I got ther I knew I would leave on my 18th birthday. Because of this fact I wasnt very compliant with the rules, and got into alot of trouble.

I was put on about every "sanction" which is another word for punishment, some example of what I was out on was: invisible for aboiut 2 months- which means you can only talk to staff and the assigned student who watched you to make sure you are behaving and dont run away- work sanction for about a month- which means you do hard labor such as moving buckets of rocks and dirt instead of getting an education, poverty for about 7 months- which means you have to wear baggy sweat pants loose shirt, your hair up, not make up, jewlery and no perfumes, smelly lotion or lipgloss also could not trim eyebrows (basically anything that would make you look "attractive"), exzile for about 3 months- which means you can not be in the room with the rest of the Family (family is how they split the students pup to better maintain them, this is where you eat, do "table topics" and are when you are not in school and on the weekends) I had to stand outside the door by myself- couldnt talk to anyone, couldnt sit and was limited to the basic meal (no candy, soda, or seconds) and couldnt only eat and do homework. When I wasn't on exile I was most likely in the sitting or standing facing the corner (both in the "family" and in study halls) and was had to raise my hand and be called on before I could do anything like go to the bathroom, get something from my school bag I needed etc.

On many occation's I was brought up at the table for a table topic, which is when everyone, students & staff, pretty much humiliate you and tell you everything you do wrong and then give you the appropriate "sanctions" or punishments. I also remember reacing out for help and just end up being in trouble some more- not getting any help at all. On occation that sticks out in my head is when I went to my Family Leader, Jackie Petriella, and told her about a horrific memory from my past I really didnt talk about and wanted help on getting over. Jackie P. told me that I was lying, making it up and it was all in my head. I remember being hysterical- trying to maybe get some help at this place I was stuck at and she said "Well IF this really happened- it sounds like you put yourself in that situation and were asking for it." This is someone that is sapposed to me like a mentor to the girl students, a staff.

Jackie and her husband Joe were the leaders for my family and they were on the top of this hirearchy chain the Family School had built- and they had favorits, and the ones that were there least favorites. i remember one girl graduating and Jackie letting her do whatever she wanted, wearing slutty clothes, make up you werent sapposed to etc. and this other girl was not allowed to do the same for her graduation- that is not fair. This is a "treatment facility" that is completly unoraginized and not fair at all. I also remember a gay student in my family that was harassed my family leader Joe Petriella, beacuse Joe did not like Gay Men. He was constandly telling him how he was a "fag" and putting him in the corner for things he should have such as his nails being to long, or his hair being to long- just because he was gay. (As there were other boys in the family that had the same length hair that did not go to the corner.

We were only allowed to talk to our family once a week for 10 minutes, after the 1st month. As well as once they came for the 1st time, you would have to write a list of EVERYTHING wrong you had done, every sex partner there age, your age then and tell this to your parents. Parents were also not allowed to see there children untill they had started going to some type of meeting or recovery, such as Alanon which is a meeting (like Alcholics Anonmous) in which you have a family member that is an Alcholic. You also had to memorize in your first couple of weeks ther a handfull of prayers out of the AA book and the 12 steps, this was MANDATORY.- even if you were not an Alcholhic.

Some abuse I personally went through was physicall and emotion (as I have already stated). Some of the physical abuse I can remeber was when I was sick one time, I remember going to lunch in the family and the nurse told me to lie down on the couch- after I ate, i threw up and was then allowed to lay down. At that time I was in supposed to sit facing the corner (which you are not allowed on the couch) Joe Petriella then came over to the couch and told me to get up and sit in the corner, I felt so I replied with "I am to sick I cant get up." He then proceeded to grab my arm and pulled me off the couch while he removed the pillows and cushions-leaving just the wood. I then laid on the wooden couch as I needed to lie down. He then went to the back of the couch and tipped it over, leaving me on the floor in front of the whole family. And screamed at me. I don't think it is right for 1 person to have so much power. NOONE deserves to be treated like that, especially since THEY are getting PAID to care for us. In my book that isn't caring at all.

I remember Tommy Cummings putting me in the "time out room" a 6ft by 6ft room with a metal door that had a small glass window and 3 bolt locks on it as well as a camera, not allowing me to come out for days. (They started calling it a "timeout room" when the door was left open and an isolation room when it was shut) One time I asked to used the restroom once and Tommy said no- I hadnt been in about 6 hours and he told me "because I dont want to let you." He then go off work, and didnt notify the next staff watching over the isolation room I had to go, leaving me 3 hours later so fed up I walked out the door and down the road. The staff followed, and told me since it was so close to my 18th birthday that they weren't going to do anything- just call the state police and tell them I had "run away". I was only gone for about a day but was seen by a FFS staff at a local resturant and taken back to the school. Im sorry but if I was told my child ran away, and they were really the school I pay so much money for allowed my child to just leave, I would be FURIOUS!
Another time in the isolation room I had been in there for 3 days, and again Tommy Cummings just "didnt want to let (me) out" I hate to admit I stooped so low, I cut myself with my own fingernails, just so I could stop being trated like an animal sleeping on this cold tile floor in silence for days. I was just punished more for this behavior.

We had these things called late slips, if you were late for 3 classes in a week, on saturday you had to physicall activity for 2 hours with the gym teacer, running up and down hills and around campus etc. When I had to do this I remember not being able to breath and my face and body being bright red and covered in sweat. I was not allowed to get water, sit down and was told I was fine. I was actually having an ashma attack and was hyperventalating.

These are only the FEW things I can think of off the top of my head. Alot of things I have forgotten and can not remmeber up to a few weeks of periods at a time. This may be a result of Post Tramatic Stress Disorder, or the hope to one day not have to remember this place. Only a select few of the staff at this school actually care about it's students, the rest are just power hungry and love money. This place should be shut down-and any place like it. I WOULD NOT reccomend this to your child, if you are reading this- you should see why. This school humiliated me, degraded me, and made me stoop to levels I had never, and thought I would never, go. Every story in here is true, Some people may fake there way through this school and be okay- great for them but that is probally about 3%... the rest of us are left with this horrific memories. This school probably F****ed me up worse then I was before going there. Im sorry for everyone else that had to go here also.

Well that is my piece. Thanks for giving me somewhere to state my true feelings- and possible make a difference.

Submitted By: Amy B.