Family Foundation School / Allynwood Academy
CLOSED (August 2014)




Vincent Gazzara

I was a FFS student from Jan 1997)-I believe May if 1998. My parents brought me there due to my problems with lying and stealin.  Within One week, i was labeled a drug addict, sex addict and problematic in all aspects.  In my 15 or so months there i ran away 3 times, always without shoes and made it back to Long Island every time but knew i had to return. So i voluntarily returned each time.

After half way through my stay, i had at one point or another been on every sanction they could even think to put me o, including house blackout and staff blackout (at the same time) so i had no one period to speak with. Also during that time I was on family blackout and was in the corner from morning till eve. for over 2 months straight.

I was not violent, nor did i have a sex or drug addiction, but since these labels were publicly displaced immediately since my arrival, every female there thought i was a disgusting pervert and i endured dirty looks, countless table topics, and many other painful damaging things.

Only two things kept me sane.... The fact that my 18th birthday was approaching only 13 months after i was admitted, the kindness and genuine concern of Father Steven (although i was not catholic), and soccer.. (When I was allowed to play.)
P.S. at the height of my "Trouble" i was on 48 separate sanctions...... One week before my 18th birthday (feb. 1998), I was stood up in front of the entire house, told my life was a waste and they knew i was going to walk in two weeks with no hope. I was given my shoes back, both shadows removed and all sanctions lifted.
The heads of families exact words in unison: "You are the worst and most difficult person to this date to enter through here."
Well my 18th birthday day came, and i stayed for 2 months to prove something to them and myself. I got close to straight A's in every course, began tutoring and even shadowed. 60 days later i walked out of there with the clothes on my back..... Hitched a ride 4 hours to Long Island.

And started my life.

I'm 29 yrs. old now.... I attended "The Culinary Institute of America" (The #1 rated culinary school on earth), I run a catering company, an artist booking agency for music, and am a nationally recognized dj. I live in Miami Beach and live the life I could have only dreamed up..

I lost 15 months of my life and a yr. after leaving that school i lost my mom to cancer. My only regret is that i could not have spent more time with the woman who showed me that forgiveness and patience will take you far in life.

I endured pain, hurt, abandonment, disconnection, depression, and some things i cannot still to this day say a loud because of the FFS.

Im still standing...... Stronger than before i stepped foot into that hell hole.

Its a shame that the school was genuinely founded to give people hope that they had long since earlier given up on themselves....I now what it has become.
My heart goes out to the thousands of kids who's lives were worsened and put on hold by the FFS.

Submitted By: Vincent J. Gazzara