I was there for 18 months, Oct. 2008-April 2010. I was there when they called the first level “homeless” and only fed us rice and lentils mixed with food from the day befores dinner. Because I was vegetarian I usually only had undercooked carrots/or green beans, and rice and lentils. I spent a lot of time in that component of DRA because I was a “tough” case. I didn’t want to conform and go with the flow of the program, and I didn’t honestly want to to home so I was stuck. Some horror stories I have are like my first day there as we were warming up for our 6:30 am calisthenics there was a “code red” which was a student running. A boy was trying to outrun a homeless staff on the boys campus. He was caught, restrained and even while he was barely moving, I guess he told the staff if they let go he would run again so the staff “Tucker” broke his wrist. Later that month, Tucker had to “leave” his DRA job.. I’m pretty sure the kids parents weren’t to happy. Another experience I had is we had a diabetic/suicidal girl named Shelby Cron who had little control on her diabetes.. and during one of her sugar highs or lows? she was restrained for being too angry. this was done by a higher up named Cody.. a program director on girls campus at the time. She was screaming to let her go and she was fine and we could hear her in our classrooms and it was a little horrifying.. and of course, the stories go on.. I had a girl in homeless with me toward the end of my program, Devyn Stange? Stangy? something like that, who was prone to seizures. As we were standing in line to use the porta potty (which if you’re in homeless you have to during the day during one of the 2 or 3 scheduled bathroom times) Devyn had a seizure and fell to the ground. Because I was in homeless again and had been at the program for a year by then the staff trusted me to find a higher up staff to call 911. The staff didn’t believe me at first and only called our own nurses to go down there.. who told them she was having a seizure. Finally close to 20 minutes later an ambulance came for her. She came back later that day close to dinner and the staff was told to let her rest, and that she had already ate at the hospital, but the staff failed her day because she “refused to eat” and “refused to join in calisthenics”
then some lesser stories, I wasn’t allowed contact with my mom at the end of the program, my last month there, because they knew she wasn’t going to pay the next month and was pulling me. One of the homeless staff, Kyle Carter, was arrested for being part of a prostitution sting in March of 2010.. his wife was a staff as well, we had a staff named Dory, who hated us and admitted it. She looked through our files for fun one day and came downstairs to tell us that she didn’t feel sorry for any of us, we were all bad. She would cite people if their underwear was showing when the bent over, or if they farted near her or something.. she was an extremist.
Jim Shirey died while I was there, but I wasn’t allowed to tell me mom about it, and my first week there the girls in my dorm poured water in my shoes, and urinated in the bathtub if they knew it was my turn to clean it..
Although I was there so long, my relationship with my mother was never fixed.. I walked on my 18th birthday in February of 2010 and Ricky told me I was stupid and would never make it on my own.. So after spending a couple of nights with an older gentlemen, I went back because my mom agreed that I could just get my GED and come home.. and they were very cocky and frustrating to be around since I had “caved” in and come back. Because I live clear in Missouri and nobody could help me out I really didn’t have a rescue team to bring me home haha. Although I was never brainwashed from the program, my mom still is, and recommends it to people.. I have told her time and time again how terrible I had it. but whatever. I made the best friends of my life there, and I made tons of drug connections.. now in my life, I’m sober because I’m married and have a 1 year told beautiful little girl. I keep minimal contact with my mom, and its easier to move on with my life.