Caribbean school serves as training ground for troubled students

Authored by Jim Langham on Dec 19, 2012

Tony Fingerle, who is associated with The Crossing, a new educational ministry that started in Grace Bible Church this past fall, recently told a group of local businessmen that a new expanded ministry in the Caribbean has proved to be effective in allowing for a new start in local and regional teens who are troubled.
“Two years ago we were doing very well on the court side of things,” said Fingerle. “We were the largest provider in Indiana with home-based services. We worked well with struggling families. However, if the court is involved, we have to find other places to receive help.”
Fingerle said that a board school in the Dominican Republic decided to allow association with troubled families who are struggling with their children. That arrangement made it possible for kids from the United States, along with staff members, to work with poverty-stricken people there.
“One man in the Dominican Republic lived in a chicken coop,” noted Fingerle. “When we have our kids down there with our staff, we work along side of people to help rebuild things. “
Fingerle explained that an arm ministry known as, “Crosswinds,” which is associated with the same outreach associated with the Berne Crossing school, is designed as a place where young people struggling with parents or other problems can go and help with Dominican Republic needs and receive counsel and encouragement to assist with their own needs.
“We are currently reaching over 10,000 kids annually in the state of Indiana,” said Fingerle. “Our program down there allows kids to do something positive in reaching out. It also helps get them away from the wrong crowd that might be influencing them here.
“When we have these kids down there with our staff, they work along side of people and help them rebuild things,” said Fingerle. “It helps them to look at things from a whole difference perspective.”
Fingerle said that many of the kids that go down to work on the campus of Caribbean Mountain Academy, grew up in mid to high income families.
“They see poverty down there and it really changes their focus. Many of them can’t believe what many people still don’t have,” observed Fingerle.
In addition to students who go to the academy for schooling and training, Fingerle said that there is also an opportunity for missions programs, church groups and medical teams that would like to help on a short term basis with the Dominican needs.
While different people work at the academy on a short-term basis, Fingerle said that the work of the mission has become effective because it continues on a long term basis in the Dominican culture and has added stability to the region where it is located.
“Our outreach also touches the lives of the teens living on our campus at Caribbean Mountain Academy as they work independently or in conjunction with visiting mission groups,” said Fingerle. “In the United States, youth can become entranced in a culture that is often self-serving. However, in the Dominican Republic, their lives can also be changed from the inside out as they serve others.”

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