Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform > Lighthouse of northwest florida (fka VCA )/ Rebekah / Roloff )

New Beginnings Girls Academy

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This thread will consist of some small links about New Beginnings Girls Academy located near LaRussel in Missouri.

The founders did work for one of the original Roloff homes in Texas and they have moved between Florida and Missiouri since operating their school under various names.

New Beginnings Girls Academy is a Deception! - Jeanette's Sharebook (Care2 blog), February 12, 2011:

--- Quote ---My daughter was recently brought home from New Beginnings Girls Academy in LaRussell Missouri. The ordeal was a very traumatizing experience that has definately changed the life of my little girl forever. The abusive punishment used on these little girls is cruel and unusual, and extremely abusive. The state laws of Missouri are very vague for protecting these girls from abuse, since the parents have signed many papers, notorized and sent back. Making the parent feel that they have no rights left to have any part in their child's decision making daily life. We asked the director, Bill Macnamera, if he would be able to help our daughter recover from a serious trauma that was tormenting her daily. He assured us that she would recieve counseling, encouragement, and discipleship and that with their help she would get "academically back on track..." The only thing our daughter did receive was severe and cruel abusive treatment. I am a mother with a heart for truth and justice, and when I saw my daughter on the day I went to pick her up...I knew that there was a story she would not be able to speak of for a long time. I want to warn all parents, and inform mothers that no matter how much anguish your child is struggling with, you are still the final cannot give up your child to a house of abuse, so that you can sleep better at night, knowing they are "safe" is a false peace, and the truth is that behind closed doors, and shut off campus, your daughters are being severely abused, not for acts of rebellion, but for merely looking at someone, or speaking to another girl, or expressing an opinion that is not what New Beginnings programmed them to say.... This establishment is one of great intimidation and threats of continual abuse daily. My daughter was on a punishment called "red shirt" when I arrived to pick her up. She had no idea that I was coming, and was in shock when she saw me for the first time. She stood there trembling, shaking, and started crying uncontrollably....saying over and over again, "Mom is that you?....O my God, Mom is that you?....are you really here?...Mom, O my God Mom... I cant believe its you!" She was weak and trembling, pale white, and her shoes and skirt were filthy. She was in a large red T-shirt, thin black summer skirt, freezing cold. Missouri had just had a snow storm, and the weather was 26degrees. She was being punished for the 3rd week in a row "on the wall," which means standing there at the wall for 8-10 hrs a day. Before that she had been on the wall for 4 weeks straight of continual standing with hands behind back, facing wall, no talking, no bathroom break when desperately needed, but had to wait for someone to take you, and that could range up to 5-6 hrs. She was sickly, with blood in her urine, and blood in her stools. She now has a horrible gag reflex from all of the forced feedings with the 5 minute rule. When you are on punishment you have only 5 minutes to eat everything they heap onto your plate. What were her offenses? What did she do to warrant this punishment? She had looked at another girl, spoken to someone without being informed that there is a no talking rule, she left her socks on the laundry pick up table by mistake, and she had stepped out of line to get her Bible. While on punishment at the wall she needed to go to the bathroom while on her cycle and was refused. During one church tour the girls wrote notes for help, hid them in the hymnals and prayed that the church people would find the notes and send them to their families. They were discovered, and each girl was put in solitary confinement twice...standing in a sealeded off room 4-6 hrs at a time...standing on the wall or writing sentences. My daughter was suffering with a UTI, and I informed them that she needed to go to a Dr. and receive antibiotics for her infection. They said that they would take care of it right away, and she never saw a doctor. Food is used as a continual punishment. The girls are forced to eat large amounts in 5 minutes time of unhealthy foods that also cause problems with these girls that are already struggling with chemisty imbalances. This place covers the bases for legal rights to do as they have done for years...abuse these little girls with the parents signing off, and the child left behind feeling the betrayal, abandonement, and the effects of being thrown people that don't like them, who now have total power and control to inform them that their own family "does not even want them" and they are "fortunate" that the New Beginnings Program has taken them because "no one else would." The Bible is used continually to emotionally abuse these girls, reminding them that they are unworthy to be at New Beginnings, but that the staff is so merciful to allow them to stay, and punish them until they understand their place in the world... They are to be out of the world, away from family, and away from all sin. Sin is in the world, your family is in the world, if you go home you are going back into the world, you must not want to go back to your family, your family is in the world and the world is sin....the cycle continues...there is no "mending broken relationships" or "Loving caring atmosphere" as they advertise. They want these girls relationships with their family all severed so they can metally manipulate the life of your child beyond their 18th year. That is where the benefit for New Beginnings comes from...the girls then become the baby sitters, to give out punishments to any offenses the new prisonguard sees fit. The prisoner becomes a guard. The progrtam is built entirely on fear, intimidation, and abuse punishment. None of the things God inteneded...these are His lost sheep being abused by a leader who is out of control with his anger....Bill Macnamera lost control of his temper started yelling at me on the phone and hung up on me during a conversation about my daughter. Afterwards my daughter received continual punishment until the day I picked her up. A Leader with no self control, yelling at these girls the "rules of God," when Jesus said "my sheep hear my voice and follow me," we all know that you cannot yell at sheep, you will terrify theem! You must speaK gently, softly, reading the Bible to calm them, not terrorize them, beating them with the rode and staff, but gently guiding them to continual safety..... Mothers! Do not become so discouraged and helpless that you decide to turn and walk away from thinking you can help your child....this place is not God's design, and it is not the answer. This is a wolf in sheeps clothing, and our daughters are the sheep that are being devoured by this obese, angry, hot tempered, lustful beast of a religous man. I have been involved with the church for many years of my life, and have slowly come to see the difference in mens character, those who do honor God in their lives, and those who use God to their own glory....I can say with all honesty and no malice, that this program is not one that honors God in any is performing, quoting scriptures, and yelling at the girls when no one is looking. Can good fruit come from a corrupt tree? Can we get fresh water from a putrid stream? We cannot have good and bad flowing from the same pulpit and expect our sheep to become mature, responsible, safe adults. I have years of work ahead of me, to undo the harm that was continually forced upon my daughter in only two months. But there are girls that have been left there for good. Years of this abuse will not turn them out to society, the plan is to keep them there to get promoted to become a security guard, and then to get hired on and help run this place while the Macnameras are on their one of many vacations...the day I went to pick up my daughter, they were on a cruise with their daughter and son in law who also helop run this family business, that is self governed, self regulated,and self documented. This is a dangerous place with wonderful Bible cover. I was decieved with the wonderful presentation they give in the churches. Our church supports this school, we watched their presentation, were taken by the plea for help for the girls, and our hearts ached for them. They would only look at the ground. We got there early and saw the girls sitting in the pew before their presentation started... they would only look down at the Bible on their lap. When I spoke to them they were shy, timid, and fearful to say anything...I did not understand, but now I completely do...the deception is thick and heavy. I was completely taken off guard when they quoted so much scripture, and were joyfully singing their songs. I did not know the truth of the hearts of the girls, they were pleading for help in daughter was too.. my daughter was co-erced to tell me on the phone in front of the staff that she could not come home, and told me that she needed to stay there to continue "growing with God" *( on the wall) and stay for another "6-7 months" This was shocking to me. We agreed that she would stay for 30 days to get time away to make decisions of the direction she wanted to go with God in her life. I found out after bringing her home that she was so severely punished, her only thought was the cost of leaving there. She was told she could never go home again, and that she had no-where else to go. She was told that she had to pay her parents back for her stay there, and how was she going to afford that. She thought she would have to stay and get hired on to begin paying back her debt. She was almost 18 yrs old. By then she could be a security-guard-baby sitter-type person called a "helper" or "Junior Staff" who follows the younger girls and give demerits for punishment. She would earn her freedom by staying and working for the New Beginnings Girls Academy.... Do not believe what you hear, your heart will tell you that there is something wrong, and it is true! I plead with other parents. Follow your gut instinct and believe no one, but see for is never as it is a deception...I only wish someone had been able to tell me what I'm saying now.
--- End quote ---

Abusive treatment facility,  jeannie marie, Complaint Board, January 31, 2011,

--- Quote ---Met this group, while they were on tour to our church. we were impressed wtih their evening performance, and felt that this place would be a place where our daughter could find rest, and comfort and a place to get away from it all after a severe accident left her with some serious physical complications...
it was not what we had expected, nor was it what we were promised.We were told of mending broken relationships, academically getting on track and counseling...
punishment started right away, for things that were not understood, red shirt, punishment, left my daughter with many physical problems, untreated medical condition, UTI that was untreated, afer I spoke about her needing to get medical attention, they said they would, and did nothing.
blood in her urine, blood in her bowels, hives all over her body.
Our letters were kept from her, her letters to us were never sent, she was not allowed to speak to us freely on the phone, but every word was to be judged, and she was expected to speak to us in monotone, so as not to communicate anything other than what was allowed. She was on punishment, and red shirt discipline throughout her stay, and has foot, knee, hip inflamation from the constant standing on the wall with her hands behind her back, both feet flat on the floor.
she wakes up nightly with nightmares, of being taken back to New beginnings Girls academy.
Bill macnamera has a very bad temper, in which he did lose all self control with me, while I was asking him questions about educational neglect for my daughter. We were told that she would start counseling, up to two days a week, right away...after two months, she recieved one processing counseling interview...when I asked about the counseling and the lack of education, Bill Macnamers became angry with my questioning his authority, telling me that he did not have to listen to this, and slammed the phone down...a man with a lack of control, exploding on the phone in a temper tantrum fashion, is also in charge of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and 30 little girls who needed a safe place to be, and protection...very concerning...
we called to ask our daughter if she were ready to come home, a nd she had already been in Bill Macnamera's office earlier, and agreed under duress, to stay 6 more which time she told me on the phone she could not come ahome, and it was not perfect at New Beginnings, but she could not come she wanted to stay another 6 months...during my conversation, she was told she had 3 minutes to get off the phone for a counseling they could than tell her why she needed to stay there...
The world is sin, your family is in the world, if you leave NBGH you will going back into the world, your family is in the world, the world is in sin...
They are not allowed to know the day of the week or the date of the month, and must learn to tell time speaking of family you miss, or anything that is reminders of home, family, affection, caring loving people in your life outside of New Beginnings.
You get punished for making eye contact with any other girl, no matter speaking at any must raise your hand and be silent until you are called, if you are called.
Bathroom is punishment: with 5 sheets of toilet paper, or 7 depending on your stalls for shower and bathroom...strip search, solitary confinement writing sentences for up to 4 hrs. a time..
When I went to rescue my daughter from this place, I was met by the counselor who told me to come into the office, we needed to talk...told me to sit down, I refused, he than got himself a chair, so we could sit and talk before I could see my daughter...he than told me that it was a dangerous idea to take my daughter home, It was not safe, she did not want to go home, and she made it very clear, told them many times she did not want to come home, she wanted to stay,
She was severely punished after I was hung up on with more discipline...she would than say anything that would make them happy hoping they would lighten up on the severe didnt help...
she was severely distraught, terrified, freightened, full of shame, fear, intimidation, and terror...the look inher eyes the moment I saw her was one that I had never seen in her eyes was the same look I have seen on a dog, lost on the side of a highway, trying to avoid traffic, sticks and stones, wet dripping with freezing rain, terrified for its very life, shivering, full of fear, begging for shocked me and paralyzed me to see my daughter sickly pale, ghostly white, bug eyed, trembling, shivering, fulll of fear in her eyes...fear and intimidation not knowing why she was now in the Office...she looked at me, and said, Mom is that you...she than began crying saying, O God, O my God, Mom, is that really you, O my God mom you came...I ran to her, picked up her trembling body, and she melted in my arms, so I picked up her weak body, and felt how weak her hug on me was...she was trembling in my arms, and I you want to go to Braums with me...will you go to lunch with me...I knew if I could remind her of a happy childhood memory, she would answer me freely before she remembered what she was supposed to say...she said, food, o God yes...she was in shock, and was trembling as we turned to walk out...she was than ordered to take off her red shirt and return it...big red T shirt to degrade as punishment, humiliate, and abuse mentally and emotionally...she had nothing else on with the T-shirt in Missouri snow storm, boots, thin black summer skirt...when I got there, they had her hurriedly put on a purple sweatshirt...she was confused, but never knew anything about me traveling to get her...she was in total shock and surprise...she was convinced that whe was not allowed to ever coem home again, she was not loved, not wanted, and at the same time, /Bill Macnamera told my husband to just let her go, give her away...let her go...they got tiered of all of our phone calls asking questions...
later on she was able to open up, telling me that she never would have went home with me if Bill macnamera was in town there..He was on vacation with his daughter and son-in-law who are his assistant run business...he would have let her know what the right response was...she would have done exactly what he told her to do...she was fulll of fear, intimidation, she was terrified of what would happen to her if she said the wrong thing...shw would have told me she was not going home.
I must confess that I am not one with free time on my hands to write openly, but this trauma is not half described due to time restraints...I am a mother of great love devotion, and concern for my daughter, and other daughters across America...Mothers who think thye are doing the right thing, finding out after it is too late, that we made the worst possible mistake of our lives...allowing total strangers, to have dominant control over the lives of a child that we have invested so many years, to a person that we knw so very little about.
I am reaching out to Moms everywhere, no matter how desperate you are to find help for your daughters, do not give up, do not give in, and do not send them to a place with your eyes closed, and imagine it is a good thing...if your heart is aching and grievingf, and warning you...listen to those cautions, it is real life screams in the dark...she was very exhausted and walked painfully...when I stoped for the night she was barely able to walk with terrible muscle cramps, and joint pain from the constant standing ont he wall, 7 days a week, *8- hrs. a day, and 500 jumping jacks each evening you are on punishment...she was in terrible pain, and groaned each time I held her, she was having muscle spasms throughout the night, with nightmares of being taken back to NBGH.
She now has anxiety attacks throughout the day, gag reflex from being force fed large amounts of food, and punished if you dont eat it all, or throw it up...punish is by demerits, and the girls who have grown up in the system and arrived at the age of 18, than become the new guards, to give punishment demerits without question...
the prisoner becomes the guard, so the abuse of the bully system continues, and the fear factor of this is evident in the lives of the girls that are full of fear to look anyone in the eye again...
--- End quote ---

This was originally the Rebekah Home for Girls when it was located in Corpus Christi, TX, yes? It's hard for folks to keep track when there've been so many name and location changes, as well as some changes in personnel... Do some parents believe that this is a "new" program or, at the least, one with no or very minor connections to the previous horror show?

From the New Beginnings website:

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What Is New Beginnings?

At New Beginnings, we accept troubled teen boys and girls (ages 13 – 17) from all over the country. Our first emphasis is each student's spiritual needs. We are convinced more than ever that Christ meets every need and our goal is to point these young lives to Him. We believe that through Jesus Christ they can overcome their addictions, mend broken relationships, and get their lives on the right path. Our creator has provided the answer to man's basic needs of love, forgiveness, and acceptance in His Word. The King James Bible is our text book for spiritual direction. It provides Scriptural principles to confront all of life's problems. II Peter 1:3 "... (God) hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue."

We offer a place of refuge that allows our students to get away from the negative influences on their life and have a "new beginning." Our program provides a combination of spiritual guidance, Biblical teaching, and a healthy, loving atmosphere to help develop character and provide a foundation for confronting the many complex decisions in "growing up."

New Beginnings Girls Academy 2006

Here are some personal statements from their Testimonials page; some of these pertain to the New Beginnings' program for boys:

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Testimonials - New Beginnings Ministries

Here are a few testimonials from former students and parents of students.

My name is Donna and my son was a student at New Beginnings in the Boys Academy. He was actually the first boy that Bro. Mac took in at the school. The boys' school was not quite ready to open its doors yet and I had been in contact with Bro. Mac about the crisis that was going on for my son and our family. Bro. Mac graciously called me and said that he felt there was something about "this boy" and that God was saying to take him in. It was truly a miracle in my life and for my child that was in so much pain and turmoil...all the pieces began to truly miraculously fit together and within one month my son was placed in Bro. Mac's care. I didn't know that my son had been praying that if God would get him out of the situations he was in, he would give himself completely to God. God answered his prayers on May 12th and my son recognized it as God's hand and indeed within a few weeks at New Beginnings, he rededicated his heart back to Jesus.

I went to visit my son with his brother and sister after he had been at the school for six months. We were all completely amazed at the transformation that God was accomplishing in and for my son. He had that peace and joy back that he had as a young boy, loving Jesus. We spent the three days we got to visit him singing hymns and songs that we had sung together when he was young as we drove around Missouri together.

I am in awe of God and the work He is so faithfully completing in Taylor. I am forever grateful for the godly men the God has placed in Taylor's life at New Beginnings. When my son left California, he was a 15 year old that struggled with entitlement, disrespect, lying, and anger. He now is a young man that has a passion for God's Word and actually is able to take responsibility for his actions. As a mom whose deepest desire is that my children will have personal relationships with God...He has granted me the desires of my heart as I hear what He is doing in my son's life. I knew that my son needed to be removed from his environment and family dynamics to have a chance to hear God's call. To God be the glory for the things He hath done for my son and thanks be to God for the family at New Beginnings and their willingness to give their lives for our children in service to God.

-—-—-—- -—-—-—- -—-—-—-

My name is Buggs. Eleven years ago on Father's Day I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I wish that I had done this so many years ago. I would have brought my family up in a more Christian home environment, but you live and learn. No matter how hard you try, the Devil has ways of getting in and trying to steal your glory. I have a son that was 17 years old. All and all, he has always been a good son. I kept him in church and he went to the altar and asked Jesus to be his personal Savior, but I did not believe that it was from the heart. Only God knows the heart. My son got into a little trouble in June of 2008.

The church that we attend supports New Beginnings, so I prayed about the matter and in just a little time the Lord spoke to me about sending my son there. I called Bro. Mac at the home and spoke to him about the matter and asked if he would consider taking my son. He told me that he would love to have him in the program. It was the best thing that I could do for my son. At 8:45 on September 10, 2008, my son asked the Lord Jesus to be his personal Savior and this time it was from the heart. The difference that the staff has made in my son's life is like day and night. Just in the first few weeks, I could tell the difference in my son. It is so good to set down and have a conversation about God with my son and listen to him bring Bible verses out in to the conversation.

The staff at New Beginnings is a God fearing King James 1611 Bible believing ministry. Only the true Word of God is spoken. I have seen the difference that the ministry has made in my son and would encourage anyone that has had a teen male or female that needs a second chance or a parent who wants to help their child get a better start even in their education to contact New Beginnings.

I would like to thank the staff at New Beginnings and all of the wives of these great men who have devoted their lives to changing boys and girls into respectable young men and ladies. God bless you all.

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My name is Amber. I am 20 years old and from Missouri. I went to New Beginnings on January 5, 2006. The Lord used the home in amazing ways and on January 11, 2006 He saved my soul! He allowed me to graduate and get on staff in 2007 until I went home to help take care of my sick grandpa.

In coming home, I found that it is true..."The world doesn't change, you do." Our families don't go to the home, we do. I have found that not too many people have been trained by the King James believing pastors like I have. It is also true that we could be the only "Bible" that people see (or at least pay attention to). God calls us to "be ye separate", but most of the time when no one else is, it is not easy. We are also to "follow his steps." (1 Peter 2:21) The Lord has really used these verses to help me in the last couple of months. At the home, it is so easy to do because there are others around doing the same thing. Once you leave, the Bible and prayer must be your focus.

I thank God so much for His love and grace, but also for the love and dedication of the staff at New Beginnings. The Lord used you to make it real to me.

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My husband and I want to personally thank you for helping our son to change his life and get him back on track. Last year was a tough year with our son becoming more defiant, getting angry a lot and losing his relationship with God. In a short period of time you helped change his life around. My son was not doing drugs or getting in trouble with the law but he was angry and destructive in our home, not caring about school, our family or God. Before it was too late for him and he started getting involved with drugs or the law, we wanted to send him somewhere so he could change. New Beginnings was the right fit for our son. He was able to get right with God, which is what he says has helped him change the most. Further, the structure and support helped him break out of his angry demeanor. Being away, helped our family heal and helped our son understand what is important in life. He now wants to do well in school and is repeating the classes he failed. He is taking pride in himself and his life. He now has a relationship again with God and wants to be a part of church several times a week; this has been a huge blessing. He is pleasant and polite. He does work around the house in a cooperative manner. He has gotten his temper under control. He learned so many new skills while at New Beginnings, such as planting, harvesting, carpentry, laying cement, etc. These skills are a source of pride for him and he really enjoyed doing these things while he was there. He has learned how to take responsibility of his life and build his self-esteem. It was such a hard decision to put him on the plane and send him away but I knew it was what he needed. There were many days I cried and prayed for comfort but I would do it again in a heartbeat because the change in him is incredible, he is a young man now. The months he was gone were hard for me but seeing him happy and in control of himself is a blessing from God. He grew up so much with your program and God's support.

If you are considering placement for your child, I would highly recommend New Beginnings. It clearly changed our son's future.

New Beginnings Girls Academy 2006

There are several "not especially flattering" reviews on Merchant Circle; here are all 19 of them.

Not sure why, but a number of folk, seriously unhappy about their experience with New Beginnings, actually gave them 5 stars. Clearly they misunderstood the rating system. I bring this up solely to stress the fact that, were it not for this misperception, New Beginnings Girls Academy would have had the lowest possible rating, namely, 1 out of 5 stars. There were no positive reviews.

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New Beginnings Girls Academy
7437 Lawrence County Ave
La Russell, MO 64848

2.5/5 stars

· · ·

Run away from this place! · 1/5 stars
If you are seeking help for your child, please turn elsewhere! This "Christian" home is both physically and verbally abusive. Your child will leave with more issues than before she attended, and you will not be given a chance to check on the things happening in this home. No mail or phone calls are not monitored, and there are very terrible things happening behind these closed doors. PLEASE RUN AWAY FROM THIS HOME AND THE MCNAMARAS!
January 16, 2011 by Deborah Renee' Wallis in Burleson, TX[/list][/list]
DO NOT expect positive results if your considering this so called "ministry" Residents are treated with disregard, often times abused physically and emotionally, verbally degraded...many survivors from this experience years later STILL view this as by far the most traumatic experience of their lives...please, please, DO NOT put your kid in this toxic enviornment!
January 16, 2011 by A in Atlanta, GA[/list][/list]
Stop Turn Away · 1/5 stars
If your looking for a place to send your daughter don't send them here they are abusive they will put your child through the ringer and you wont even know whats going on because they monitor their phone calls and read their letters and if it says anything bad that's going on they will be disconnected from the phone call and the letters will be thrown out . if you try to show up they will cover up all the wrong that's going on.
January 16, 2011 by Anonymous[/list][/list]
This academy is no academy at all. It is operated by the McNamara's who are nothing but money hungry con artists. They brainwash the students and constantly shove Christianity down their throats. The students are also cut off from all society outside of the home and the church they attend. The students are not allowed to talk to each other and rarely allowed to ask questions without getting in trouble. All phone calls and mail are monitored so if there is something wrong the student would not be able to tell anyone, not even the police. If you are thinking of sending your child away, this is not the place to do it. Please carefully consider who you will be trusting with you child's life. Most of the people who get out of programs like this actually turn out worse then they were before they went it. They don't teach you how to live in the real world and they have no idea to how to readjust to society once being confined at a place like this for so long.
January 16, 2011 by Lady A in Fort Campbell, KY[/list][/list]
This place isn't what you think it is. · 1/5 stars
The people who run this place are scam artists. This is NOT the right place for your children!!! Allowing your children to go to juvenile hall is better than a place like this. NBGA does not allow your child to have access to the phone, they do not allow your child to write letters about how they REALLY feel about this place, they do not allow your child to tell you ANYTHING NEGATIVE about this place. The directors of the program are most importantly mentally abusive, and for some, even physically abusive. They do not feed your children nutritious meals, and they are not being treated properly. I would not recommend this place for anyone, even for my worst enemy, because this place does not help children, they only come out worse after they have gone to a place like this. Please read more about places like these before considering sending your son or daughter here; it is not the right place for our children!!
January 17, 2011 by Cindy in Garden Grove, CA[/list][/list]
A False Front · 1/5 stars
PLEASE READ ! I normally don't do this type of thing but please DO NOT send your child to this type of facility/school. The directors agendas are simply to make money and brainwash your child so they can say that they are making a difference. The school they maintain is NOT accredited and the environment your child will be submitted to is simply inhumane. I know from experience that your child will NOT be better off. Please consider a different means of correction if you are having trouble with your child don't send them to this hateful and abusive place.
January 17, 2011 by Anonymous in Conway, AR[/list][/list]
I wouldn't send my DOG there; PLEASE put your CHILD FIRST!! · 5/5 stars
I spent two years with the McNamaras. These people openly talk about their past drug abuse and spending time in jail. Why would you trust your child to convicts?
They have been known to:
Call the girls who come to their home, seeking help and a "new beginning", names that no one should call a child.
Spank them with paddles with holes drilled in them or curtain rods.
Deprive girls of "luxuries" such as adequate shower time or toilet paper (i.e. five-minute showers, three sheets for #1 and five sheets for #2)
However much you are being asked to pay may seem like a reasonable amount to support your child for a year, but these girls are living on the bare minimum. The staff holds the money they are allotted for personal items, the girls make a list of what they need, and the absolute cheapest products are bought.
The girls are on a strict silence rule. No communication of any sort is allowed. When they are allowed to talk (on "?family nights"), any conversation...
January 17, 2011 by H.A.H. Kansas in Wichita, KS[/list][/list]
I wouldn't send my dog there ; PLEASE put your CHILD FIRST!! · 5/5 stars
...their friends from home, extended family members, secular music, television, or shows, etc. (the list goes on) is prohibited and punishable.
The girls there will be punished if they don't smile and speak highly of the home when a prospective family comes to visit. The girls are also told that if the McNamaras find out that they have spoken badly of the home or its rules while they are on a visit with their families, they will be punished. Future visits can and will be revoked.
I have seen girls (including myself) physically and verbally attacked by the Mcnamaras and their staff. Some of the ladies who have left the home have been treated for various stress induced illnesses (mine being IBS and a mild form of PTSD).
If you are thinking about sending your son or daughter anywhere, not just to New Beginnings, please take the time to talk to people about the place before entrusting them to their care. Of course the people you will be sending your money to will tell you about...
January 17, 2011 by H.A.H. Kansas in Wichita, KS[/list][/list]
I wouldn't send my DOG there; PLEASE put your CHILD FIRST!! · 5/5 stars
Of course the people you will be sending your money to will tell you about how happy the girls are and how wonderful the home is. Some places aren't bad places at all and the caretakers are doing everything they can to do right by your child. This place is not one of those places.
January 17, 2011 by H.A.H. Kansas in Wichita, KS[/list][/list]
I know from personal experience... · 1/5 stars
I was at this place for 4.5 years. There are girls who were there for longer who hold the same opinion as I do. This place is brutally abusive (mentally, emotionally, physically,) very extreme, with carefully planned secrecy. The directors (the McNamara family) have worked for several similar homes in several states, all of which have either been closed by the state or voluntarily closed for fear of investigation. Before New Beginnings came to be, they took over operations of The Rebekah Home for Girls in Corpus Christi, TX. (Google that to see what survivors of that institution have to say - it's more of the same of what you're seeing here.) Rebekah was closed by the state of TX, and the McNamaras took half the girls from THAT home and started up a new home in Pace, FL, which became New Beginnings. The state investigated them there too for abuse allegations. Next thing you know, they take the girls they already have and move to Missouri. And to the middle of nowhere. (Continued...)
January 18, 2011 by B in Fitchburg, MA[/list][/list]
I know from personal experience (continued.) · 1/5 stars
These people are conartists and "repeat offenders." They've gotten really crafty at what they do. Due to some flaws in our government's system of overseeing private homes such as this, they've been able to get away with it and have actually expanded. Due to the rise of the Internet and social networking sites, survivors are finally able to tell their stories. They aren't lying. Brainwashing, thought-reform, scare tactics, and abuse are all a big part of how New Beginnings "works." This is not the place to get help for your child. For parents of children enrolled: no matter what your kids are telling you now, they are being harmed. The Home has strict policies in place that prevent your child from telling you the truth. Over time, they'll be so lost psychologically from being beaten into the ground mentally every single day, they'll forget how to reach out for help. They'll believe they truly are the scum of the earth. They will believe they deserve all this. (Continued...)
January 18, 2011 by B in Fitchburg, MA[/list][/list]
I know from personal experience (continued.) · 1/5 stars
The time will eventually come when all the damage from abuse, isolation, and feelings of abandonment will seem irreversible. Sometimes it takes years for former detainees to "deprogram" and really process what has happened to them. Do not trust the McNamaras. Do not fall for their lovely-sounding lies. Eventually, you will regret it deeply if you do. For more information, please contact me at [email protected] Look for the group: "NBGA: Proactive Survivors of New Beginnings Girls Academy." (Feel free to contact even if you were part of the boys chapter or a parent of any present or past student.) Parents: also feel free to contact us. Please read Help at Any Cost, by Maia Szalavitz, a book about homes such as New Beginnings.

Thank you for your time.
January 18, 2011 by B[/list][/list]
It does more harm than good · 5/5 stars
I was sent the New Beginnings for 2yrs. It was a living nightmare. They claim Christianity and love are there main forms of "rehabilitation", not the case at all, more like physical and mental abuse.
All contact is restricted/monitored. There is a strict no talking policy (ex. you can't even wake up and say "Good morning"). The little contact you do have with your family (15min incoming phone call every other week and 1 1/2 page letter you are allowed to write) is monitored. If you even think about trying to inform your parents about what’s going on your call is immediately cut the call or your letter doesn't go out. Either "offense" is punishable by having your phone and incoming mail privileges suspended. I lived in a constant state of depression and nervousness but was too scared to mention it to my mother out of fear of my phone and mail privileges being taken away.
January 18, 2011 by Anonymous in Hialeah, FL[/list][/list]
It does more harm than good cont · 5/5 stars
Basic hygiene is considered a luxury not a necessity. 5 minute showers (that time of the month or not), toilet paper was monitored by the sheet (3 for #1 and 5 for #2), although money was sent by our parents only the cheapest toiletries products were purchased whether they worked or not. If your hair was greasy because the shampoo they purchased wasn’t working you got in trouble for it and told you didn’t know how to shower correctly. We got to shave once a week if staff remembered or time allowed because then we got 8 minute showers.
Our food was kept in a storage room in the garage which constantly had mice and roaches although you where none the wiser if you weren’t one of the girls called to work on the property. And forbid you mentioned it you would get in serious trouble. So most of the girls never knew what was going on in the garage.
January 18, 2011 by Mia in Hialeah, FL[/list][/list]
It does more harm than good cont · 5/5 stars
To build character, aka keeping more money in their pockets, not all the girls but some (myself included) had to do work around the property. This wasn't you Saturday morning gardening, it was more along the lines of reroofing houses on the property after Hurricane Ivan, Fixing backed up septic tanks (your legs in trash bags tied at your knees to keep out the human feces and urine), Moving logs that most that weight about a1/3 of your body weight , to name a few.
Anytime you refused to do anything you weren’t "Right with God" so you learned to do what you where told, not because you respected them but you feared the little privileges you were afforded would be taken away.
I graduated with the 2nd highest GPA in my class and was not able to attend a private university. My credits aren't even recognized by the state of Florida (where I live and where the home was at the time).
January 18, 2011 by Mia in Hialeah, FL[/list][/list]
It does more harm than good cont · 5/5 stars
I had to take a college placement course and begin in a community college before I could transfer to a state college. Thankfully I wasn’t in the middle of high school because most of the girls who where weren't able to use any of the credits they earned and latterly had to start over.
This place is not the loving, nurturing place it claims to be. It is nothing more than a stumbling block in your child's road to mental and emotional development. It does not teach you how to become a better person or how to deal with emotional problems it teaches you to suppress them because your problems are nothing more than God punishing you for being "out of his will" so act right or they will always be there. It teaches you to never voice opinions or think for yourself, basically to suppress yourself because you are so horrible on your own not even God could love you.
January 18, 2011 by Mia in Hialeah, FL[/list][/list]
It does more harm than good cont · 1/5 stars
One of their favorite lines is "that person is going to hell or going to die because you are a sinner". It's constant mental abuse and what they don't realize is that the girls sent there are impressionable children. The things we experience in our adolescent years will shape us for the rest of our lives.
I understand there are kids out there that need help but I urge to continue looking, DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD HERE!!! She'll come home in worse shape than you sent her there in.
January 18, 2011 by Mia in Hialeah, FL[/list][/list]
I am sad to say my parents sent me to this home! They apologize about it now that they see the truth in it...and it made my thought process worse being there...if you are not acting like a fanatic about God then they say that you are full of the devil! The Mac's tried to brainwash us and our parents into thinking we were "of the devil" they also tried to talk about girls having babies out of wedlock when they had a child out of wedlock....If your having problems with your children talk to God! He is the one who will help your children not some regular people who are full of SIN themselves! Trust NO man with your children, trust God! He promises to heal and deliver!!!!
January 22, 2011 by april lyn amey[/list][/list]

© 2006 - 2011 MerchantCircle.

From Hurrikayne's blog on

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New Beginnings Girls Academy - a.k.a New Beginnings Rebekah Academy
Dec 6, 2008

What is the name of the facility you were in?

Originally, it was called The Rebekah Home for Girls, based out of Corpus Christi, TX. However, due to some changes in state laws in 2001, the home was closed and the same administrators, Bill "Brother Mac" and Jennifer "Mrs. Mac" McNamara, sent half of the ninety girls home and moved the other half of us to Missouri temporarily. They eventually found us a permanent location in Pace, FL, and we moved there.

The name underwent some changes for legal reasons. For a while, it was called New Beginnings Rebekah Academy. Later, they decided to avoid any negative association with the original Roloff homes so they officially named it New Beginnings Girls Academy, which still exists at that location. The McNamara’s have since gone on to operate New Beginnings Ministries in Missouri, which admits both girls and boys.

What kind of a program did they operate?

It was an extremely strict, Christian program, which is probably a lot of the allure for parents. But the reality of it isn't so simple. It's not just loosely Christian, like many parents assume. It's not much of an "academy." It's not like regular boarding schools.

People send their kids there out of desperation, and their kids end up having to deal with circumstances in an environment that they themselves could never cope with. They operate under the guise of being a tough love, Christian place where kids can come to terms with their problems in a caring, safe, secluded educational environment, but if I was only allowed to use one word to describe it, I'd call it "degrading."

We were constantly ridiculed. During my first week there, we were all gathered together for a little sermon or chapel service, and during that Brother Mac jumped up on a pew in front of me and called us a "bunch of faggots." Soon after being sent, girls realize that such situations are not uncommon - there's a lot of screaming and yelling and what was referred to as "open rebuke," which literally meant that we were individually verbally bashed and humiliated in front of everyone there. Brother Mac discussed and criticized a lot of our past errors openly.

They tried to keep us in a pretty constant state of shame. They used a lot of brainwashing tactics. We were constantly monitored, discouraged from befriending each other, poorly educated while there, and physically and mentally abused. With all of these atrocities, they hide behind the whole "tough love" facade, but there isn't any real love at all - only degradation to force good outward behavior. It's extremely traumatizing, to say the least. The cycle continues to this day, because no one really seems to believe "troubled teens" when they do get the courage to say they're being mistreated. People tend to assume they're just lying brats.

When were you there & how long did you stay?

I was there initially from January 2001 to January 2002. I went home for a few short months and then the administrators of the home and my guardians mutually decided that I should be sent back so that I could finish high school and help them out some since they were shorthanded. I know that I wouldn't have gone back had it been up to me, but at the time my family wanted me to go and I was still trying to "do right" by them as I was still pretty convinced that I was a terrible person.

I was only 16; they were sending me, so I thought I might as well go with at least a little dignity still in tact. In May 2002, they put me on a plane back to Florida. My status was technically "junior staff," which over time exposed me to a lot of things the average onlooker doesn't know about. Once I turned 18, I tried leaving a couple of different times, but I didn't have a lot of help or money. I was paid, but only enough to get some bare necessities; nothing even close to minimum wage.

I finally succeeded in leaving when I was 19, that was in 2005. They weren't happy, but the longer I was there, the more I knew that I couldn't be subjected to or associated with the things that were happening there. Everything was just so deceitful. I just wanted to run away and forget about it forever.

Whose idea was it for you to go to this facility?

It was my sister and her pastor's idea. Legal guardianship was awarded to my sister when I was 14. She had become a really strict, really conservative Christian, and it was understandably difficult for her to deal with the fact that I wasn't interested in Christian ideals. It really frustrated her and caused a lot of turmoil at home, because I was interested in school friends, secular music, and I wore black clothes. Prior to sending me to the home, she tried to send me back to my mom who lived in Seattle area, WA, and that was a doomed effort. To make a long story short, there were a lot of problems in her home, and I just didn't want to be there either. A few months later, my mom returned me to my sister who then made the decision to send me to the home.

Were you included in the decision?

Not at all; I had no choice in the matter. I felt that any kind of crazy, punitive efforts regarding me were just stupid, and this seemed like the ultimate punishment. It felt like being dumped off and exiled in a place they couldn't know that much about. I battled with a lot of past-related depression leading up to that. I guess, to an extent, I was pretty typical: I was a smart kid, intensely creative, but really anti-social and misread. It seemed like my sister wanted me to be someone else instead of encouraging the growth of my positive traits. So I fought her the whole way.

How did you get there?

My sister and her husband drove me. When I figured out where we were headed, I lost it; screaming, kicking, cursing, for several hours. The whole time, they kept saying that I had two choices: shackles and duct tape, or muscle relaxers. I learned later on that such methods were pretty common in getting girls to the home. When I finally tired out, one of them handed me pills, and I took them so that I could temporarily forget what was happening. I didn't wake up until Texas.

What happened when you arrived?  How did they process you into their program/facility?

Most girls fight and have to be physically removed from their parents' vehicles, but I was tired and tried to be optimistic even though I had already done a little research on the place myself and read that there were scores of abuse allegations. I tried to believe my sister and her pastor, who said that the administrators were good Christians and those allegations couldn't be true about them.

As is typical procedure, we first met Brother Mac, whom I later learned was a completely different guy around parents and other outsiders. Next, the girls sang a song for us. It's a frequently-used ploy to show the girls as really docile and happy. Then, I met my "Buddy," a girl who follows her assigned new girl around and monitors her every move for her first thirty or so days. Last, they asked me to take a shower so they could finish separating what personal belongings I could keep from what had to be discarded or sent home. When all was said and done, I was left with a trunk of clothes I had never seen before, some toiletries, and a Bible.

Can you describe a typical day?

We woke up very early, made our beds and brushed our teeth, congregated to read the Bible and pray, returned to our areas to do more in-depth chores, and went to the school building to do what passed for school - no real teachers; just an unaccredited home school curriculum. Then, we worked off our acquired demerits, worked on Bible Memorization, had song practice, took showers, had a chapel or church service, had Bible reading and prayer time again, and, finally, went to bed. It was basically the same thing every day. Saturday was a work day.

The schedule differed if you were being disciplined in some way, were on Summer Tour, or were chosen to work outside that day. Some girls, even if they're suffering academically, do labor jobs on the property all day, surely in violation of child labor laws and school attendance requirements.

Can you describe some typical rules?

There were many reasonable rules but many more outlandish rules. The one that seems most harsh to people is that girls aren't allowed to talk at all unless asking Staff or Helpers a brief question, except for about an hour a week on Friday night. They're certainly not taught anything about rational communication. No talking, no humming, no popping knuckles, and your hair can't touch your face. You get six minute showers and five sheets of toilet paper. It's all about control of all aspects.

Offenses mean demerits, and demerits mean pain. Each demerit has to be worked off somehow - through very strenuous, forced exercise, etc... When I first got there, we got "licks" (corporal punishment) after the first 10 demerits acquired that day. Many simple offenses were worth 5 demerits; so you worked off the first 10 physically, and after that you got one lick per demerit, up to five licks. They were usually done by Mrs. Mac, and usually while Brother Mac watched.

When Mrs. Mac got physically tired of giving licks, we'd have to write sentences overnight.  One hundred per demerit, and some girls went some nights without sleep, just to repeat it all over again the next day. Some of the rules may be different now because some of them have been exposed.  Some of them may be less harsh and some of them may be more.  If nobody knows for sure, and no one is really accountable for their actions, and you can't really check for yourself, then they could be doing practically anything they want with your child.

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Tags: industry, abuse, teen, accountability, troubled
Posted: Dec 6, 2008 9:21am

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