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Without second chances, few people would be where they are today. New HorizonsChristian School, in Milo, specializes in second chances.
New Horizons, a Christian boarding school located in a rural setting southeast of Nevada, was founded in 2015 by Christian educator, Ed Apida. According to Apida, “Our mission atNew Horizons is to provide both an alternative option for education and life skills training for young adults who have not been successful in a traditional environment.” NHCS is for young men 18 and over.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary partially defines a horizon as a: “range of perception or experience or something that might be attained — new horizons.” It is in this sense that NHCS has a vision to help young adults redefine their personal experience, direction and life goals with a distinctive Christian perspective.
A key goal in the operating philosophy of NHCS is helping their students factor God into their life plans. “It is not enough just to educate a person,” Apida said. “Truly successful people approach life from a holistic point of view.” That means that along with education, health awareness, and life skills, spiritual development is also a significant factor. The Bible asks a pointed question, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” NHCS provides spiritual counselling and development in both individual and group settings.
Parents are often relieved when they finally find a program that works for their young adult. This is what one mother had to say after her son had been in the program several months.
“The public school had given up on my son, and my son had given up on the public school. He had nowhere left to turn. Then my husband and I found out about New HorizonsChristian School and we told our son about it. After careful consideration, and his first responsible adult decision in quite some time, he decided that he wanted to try it. Seven months later; he is more educated, more mature, in better shape, and healthier than he has been in years. He has walked away from his old life and has chosen a new life. His smiles are genuine, his laughter is contagious, and his family relationships are restored. Not only did the New Horizons help him in becoming the man God intended for him to be, but they also helped us to become the parents our son needed. We were taught how to listen, observe, be patient, and wait. We were shown how to communicate again. I am so thankful for the school and the people involved. They had a heart for young men in need of mentoring and because of them we got our son back. When I think about where he was in his walk with God last year, and the choices he was making, I am so thankful that his life has changed. I praise God that he chose Jesus over drugs. I would recommend this school to young men that have come to a crossroads in their lives and they don’t know where to turn. Not only will they get a wonderful education, but they will also be introduced to Jesus, learn accountability, responsibility, and mature as they grow in Christ. I shudder to think where my son would be if it were not for this amazing organization.” Tonya S.
Many NHSC students have not done well in traditional educational environments. They tend to do poorly in a typical classroom setting or they simply spend a lot of time getting in trouble with school teachers or local authorities. “Many students simply need individual attention or small-group dynamics to focus on educational goals or life-skills training. This is our specialty,” Apida said.
NHSC focuses on developing an individual care plan for each student that takes into account educational goals, social and emotional issues and of course, spiritual development. According to Apida, “We understand that each person in unique and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to helping a young adult to approach life holistically. Personality types, social situations and home life all combine to create a unique — although often skewed — worldview for these young adults. Our goal is to provide the student with an emotionally safe and spiritually healthy environment where they can escape many of the negative influences that have contributed to their lack of success in traditional settings.”
The school itself sits in the rolling plains of Southwest Missouri on a 24-acre farm. A church building and property was donated to the ministry by the last members of the Olive Branch Baptist Church. The building was remodelled to include classrooms, dormitory, living space and kitchen and dining facilities. There is also a residential home on the property. Plans are in the works to develop some of the farm land into gardens with the goals of producing food for the school, selling fresh, organic produce and providing vocational/agricultural experience for the students. “One of our goals is to become as self-sustaining as possible,” Apida said. “Right now we are a long way from that goal.”
Academic work is a crucial part of the overall program at New Horizons. NHCS assists their students with earning a high school diploma, depending on the individual life plan that has been developed. Students also work on the farm and around the school learning various skills and getting exercise. Discipline is also a factor. Students have a regimen that they must follow which limits some typical teenage activities like Internet, video games, staying up late and going out with friends.
“Typically our students have had discipline problems in the past — both from an authoritative standpoint and with personal life discipline — which have caused them not to succeed in life to this point,” Apida offered. “Realistically these young adults will continue to struggle until they develop some personal discipline. We try to build that into their life plan and explain why self-discipline is so crucial to a successful life.”
The school has state and federal non-profit status as a religious organization. Founder Ed Apida is a certified educator and classroom teacher he has also worked extensively with the Boy Scouts of America program in Illinois. The organization operates with a board of directors and an advisory board that includes members with advanced degrees in mental health, education, and theology. According to Apida, “One goal is to make sure that the school itself has good governance and the programs stay on track with input from individuals with various specialty degrees. We are not just a Christian home school, we are a boarding school with a Christian perspective.”
The school is relatively new and is accepting students. “Our program isn’t for everyone,” Apida stated. “We are selective in who we accept because we are committed to the individual success of the student.” NHSC is not a reformatory. The students have to want to cooperate with the program and understand that this is a chance to change their lives and ultimately their futures. The pre-application consultation with the potential student will usually determine if the young man is a good candidate for the school. Currently the school is only accepting male students because of the lack of female staff. As staff is added the school will also be available to young women.
Operating as a faith-based ministry rather than a business means the school needs the support of the community, businesses and individuals. “We try not to make money an issue in accepting a student who needs to be here,” Apida said. “We do need scholarships and other financial support to make this program work long-term.”
Businesses can offer a scholarship(s) to be used to change the life of a local youth. Donations in kind are also important. Food, clothing, gardening supplies and other goods make a significant difference.
Individuals can also get involved by offering to teach vocational or skill-based programs from cooking to mechanics, or simply volunteer in various ways. NHCS might be a great way for people to make a difference in our youth by investing their skill or passion in the life of young people.
Church or community organizations can sponsor a volunteer day to help with everything from grounds keeping to building repairs. Service projects and fund raising for the school is also a great way to assist
If you have ever been given a second chance, you know how important it is and how much potential it provides to change a life.
For more information about the school, or to donate or volunteer contact Ed Apida at 815-252-5182 or email email@example.com or visit its website atwww.newhorizonscs.org.