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Family Circle - Testimonials
A Father's Testimony on How Tough Love Can Get . . .
by Peter L.
I have been asked to say a few words as a parent of a resident here in Seagulls. But before I do may I greet everyone: Kuya Ed and Ate Chit Castillo, Kuya Jun and the all the dedicated counselors , men and women of Seagull Flight Foundation, proud graduates, nervous parents, friends, ladies and gentlemen good afternoon. On this very happy occasion I would like to formally greet and thank first and foremost the leadership of Seagulls, the outstanding men and women behind seagulls who have brought our children to where they are today.

I learned about Seagulls from my brother Bark who is in the Board of Seagulls as its Vice Chair. Buffy entered the program end of November 2008 and has been in the program for 29 months. He has been beset by many challenges - alcohol, drugs, family discord and the difficulty of sustaining an academic career as a student. Over the 29 months he has been in the program he has made remarkable progress and great strides like never before. This singular achievement is because of two things: first the dedication of the entire seagulls family: the management, counselors and staff and the residents who rallied during his most difficult challenges and ups and downs and have never given up on him- especially Kuya Jun, second of course, his own efforts to rebuild and move on with a more productive life.

Together with his mother Rayla, I have been privileged to be very active and involved in his recovery program and in my many letters to him I conveyed to him two simple things: first, I told him to finish the seagulls program and to finish high school. Those were the twin objectives we agreed on over the past two years. But I told him that between finishing high school and finishing the TC program, the TC program was far more important. The Seagulls program was the school for living a productive life and was far more important than any academic pursuit. He kept asking me why do I keep saying or writing to him that he should finish the program. I said because it is the best gift I can give you and it is the best gift you can give yourself. The road to recovery as we all know has not been easy. As you well know there were many challenges along the way and fears that he may not finish the program. I resisted moves that he be pulled out and not finish the program. With the endless T-groups, meetings, the tight monitoring, and the critical need to ensure he maintains a structure outside the facility that reflects the schedule of a resident especially during the difficult reentry period, the road to recovery has been very challenging with some funny twists and turns. Constant monitoring and vigilance and adherence to a structure has been the key.

But it is to the credit of Buffy together with the other residents today and the Seagulls TC program that he has returned to us with a clearer perspective of his life and the forces that will shape his future as a productive member of society. I once told him that the Seagulls program is THE most important graduation he will ever attend and his success at this program will spell the difference in all his future endeavours. He realized that along the way especially in the HGA last year calling the TC program as the sort of Ivy Leagues school of life. Without this program we would not have a chance at regaining our sons and daughters.

I believe that he has improved by as much as 75 percent which is very high improvement ratio and which his mother and I could not do on our own. To the new parents here at Seagulls let me say that the program works, but will require the active involvement of the family and the dedication and understanding of the TC program - elements such as tough love, deservability, discipline and the importance of maintaining a structure. The 25 percent remaining in Buffy’s case are areas that he still needs to work at and these will be where the challenges that need to be continuously addressed as he continues his recovery. But we are optimistic and the future looks bright.

I am proud to mention that buffy has met the two objectives we set out at the onset. He has graduated from high school last April 2011 and today he graduates from an even more difficult program - the Seagulls TC program which I consider among the most difficult of life changing programs. To Buffy and all the graduating class ( all 16 of you ), you certainly earned your spurs today and we all congratulate you . May you continue on your road to recovery and be ever so vigilant. To the Seagulls, Kuya Ed, Ate Chit and Kuya Jun and the management and family may the Good Lord keep you ever so close to his bosom always.




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