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About Heartlight Ministries

Heartlight is the country’s premier residential counseling center and boarding school for struggling teens. We provide a safe haven for 65+ young men and women who need help getting their life in order.

A Relational Atmosphere Committed to Excellence

When we started out almost 30 years ago, my wife Jan and I could never have predicted our “small idea” of helping kids would one day become a haven of hope and a place of healing for countless families across the U.S.

Known as one of the top facilities of our kind in the country, I say proudly that Heartlight is dedicated to excellence, committed to results, and fully structured around the family. It’s the reason we’ve been able to serve so many struggling teens and seen such dramatic turnarounds.

Our facility is second to none, our program is remarkably effective, and our staff is incredibly passionate about our mission—bringing help and hope to parents and teens. Please let us know if we can be of any assistance to you and your family.

Celebrating 30 Years of
Life Change

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About Heartlight

Located on 150 acres in the beautiful piney woods outside of Longview, Texas, Heartlight is a program that not only modifies behavior, but one that seeks to offer a unique, transformative journey through a relational experience that offers counseling, small group therapy, academics, & activities.

Heartlight’s boutique approach creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere that offers hope to the hopeless, help to the discouraged, and new life to those who fear theirs would soon be lost. Parents are an integral part of the Heartlight experience. Their involvement through phone calls, participation at retreats, and commitment to having their child finish the program all work together for a promising return home.

If you’re ready to learn more about if Heartlight could be the right place for your teen, get more information about the residential program by downloading this free informational brochure.

A Heartlight Parent
A Heartlight Parent
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"I’m convinced that if it had not been for Heartlight, our daughter would not be alive today. They not only taught our daughter how to live upright, but they also taught my wife and me the skills we needed for change within our home.”
A Heartlight Parent
A Heartlight Parent
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“What makes Heartlight different than the other specialists who tried to help our son is Mark’s practical experience, love, commitment, and most importantly, his years of living and working with sad, struggling kids who have needs beyond the capabilities of their parents. He has a God-given gift to see into the hearts of kids who are hurting.”
A Heartlight Parent
A Heartlight Parent
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"Heartlight was the light in the midst of darkness for our struggling teen daughter, giving us hope when we were hopeless.”
A Heartlight Parent
A Heartlight Parent
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“Mark has the God-given talent of probing the heart of a teenager, identifying their struggle and offering a common sense biblical perspective on living through it. I experienced Mark’s gift first-hand and am now attempting to pass it down to my kids.”

Student Experience & Campus Life

Heartlight’s beautiful campus is made up of log cabins, open space, and plenty of room for outdoor activities.

Admissions & Application Process

The first step in the application process is to complete an initial inquiry, which you can easily do online.

Our Most Common Questions, Answered

How long do residents stay at Heartlight?

The average stay for young people at Heartlight is 9–12 months. Changes of heart take time, and they require commitment on the part of the parents to stick with the program, no matter how difficult it is to be away from the child. The child will at first drag his or her heels and then after 2–3 months will settle in, allowing the counseling and the overall program to begin to spark a new way of thinking.

The 9–12 month program also provides time for parents to complete the series of three retreats required by the Heartlight program. It is critically important for the student to see his or her parents also making an effort to “change.” The Heartlight mission is to get kids back home as soon as possible after a true “change of heart” has taken place. Since there are always more needy teens waiting to get in, our staff never extends a child’s time beyond what is necessary for completion of the program.

Do the residents attend public school or do you offer schooling at Heartlight?

All residents attend school on property at the Educational Building using online curriculum through Park City Independent or Texas Tech University High School. Each school is fully accredited and gives students an excellent alternative to public school to earn their high school credits. The curriculum is worked on independently but the residents do receive as much assistance as needed from the certified teachers on staff at Heartlight.

What does a child’s stay at Heartlight cost?

Please call us at 903-668-2173 to receive our current rates.

What role do parents play in their child’s stay at Heartlight?

Parents play a vital role. Parents are asked to attend and participate in three Family retreats and a series of three Parent Retreats that do not involve the residents. Through the years we’ve found that the single most important variable involved in the success of a child’s stay at Heartlight is the parent’s commitment to the process. This includes their support and trust of the staff, program, philosophy, and guidelines. We feel like this happens best when parents understand the intent of the program, communicate with the staff, cooperate with our directives, and do not get manipulated by their child.

What does the counseling program at Heartlight involve?

The foundation of the Heartlight counseling program is Biblical truth. Each kid will meet weekly with their assigned Heartlight counselor and will attend two different small groups throughout the week. Heartlight counselors will spend their time initially building a relationship with each resident with the purpose of earning the right to be heard. Once this right has been earned, they will put into practice their training and wisdom to help each individual move towards maturity and responsibility in their thinking and behaviors.

What types of activities does Heartlight have for the residents?

Heartlight believes in the seriousness of counseling and dealing with issues and struggles, and at the same time believes that activities must be provided for fun and active involvement of the kids with our staff. Heartlight’s activities include water skiing, fishing, horseback riding a rappelling and rock climbing tower, swimming, waverunners, water skiing, paintball, basketball, tennis, Frisbee golf, golf, softball, pottery, photography, biking, aerobics and weight lifting, as well as other lake activities. We work very hard on issues and problems…but we also have our fair share of play.

How many kids does Heartlight deal with at one time?

Heartlight is licensed and regulated by the Department of Family and Protective Services to house 59 kids. Heartlight’s strives to maintain 56 residents at all times.

Is Heartlight affiliated with any particular church?

Heartlight is a non-denominational Christian ministry, and is not affiliated with any one church. Heartlight utilizes a Biblical counseling model that brings the message of Jesus Christ to the lives of residents in a non-threatening way. We do not “force-feed” kids with the Gospel, and have no requirements for their spiritual growth in order to progress through the Level System. The staff’s background in church ministry, Young Life, Campus Life, Campus Crusade, camping ministries and other residential facilities, have all come together to develop the very best program possible to meet the needs of our Heartlight residents.

Is Heartlight co-ed?

Yes, Heartlight has both boys and girls on campus in separate housing units. Heartlight believes that it is important for each sex to learn how to have an appropriate relationship and have healthy boundaries with the opposite sex. All interactions are closely supervised by all staff and are used as teaching moments to help each child learn to handle relationships in more mature ways. We currently have 31 girls and 25 boys on campus.

What type of kid does Heartlight take?

Heartlight takes kids who are struggling with many issues that life has thrown them. We deal with kids that have somehow found themselves lost and not sure where to turn next. It is Heartlight’s belief that all kids are good kids and the ones we have are no different. In a world that is very confusing and dark, we wish to offer hope to kids and families that need it.

Still Have Questions? Contact Us