Christina Rae Cowan's story, 2004
I wasn't there for more than three months. I got there about a week after my birthday in '04, I believe, right as it was about to shut down. Most of it was a blur.
I remember being in worksheets (I think it was called) Monday through Friday almost the whole time I was there. It is when it was shutting down, that I remember the best. Out of nowhere the staff were allowing things that were not allowed before. We didn't have cereal for breakfast. They said we could shower whenever... so on and so on. Everyone knew something was about to happen. Then these people came in and told us what was going to happen. They lined up the whole girls side and counted the people to make sure everyone was there.
There were rumours going on about girls getting molested and other stuff. It was unbelievable to me. I didn't, at this time, have a full understanding of the program, and to hear some of the stuff I was hearing was insanity to me. They were shutting it down. All hell broke loose. It was a zoo where all of the animals broke out of their cages. I was happy that my parents were able to come pick me up. I worried for the girls who didn't have anyone there for them to get them. I thought what the staff was doing was great - that they would give transportation to get across the border for the kids who didn't have a ride. However, everything I have heard... well, there is nothing to say about it. After I got to the border, I was immediately shipped off to a program in Iowa. I stayed for almost three years. I still have problems with anxiety in public. But overall, all that happened there at Casa, and the other programs have made me a stronger person. Though, I would never wish these programs on anyone. Me being a happier person, and having relationships doesn't justify the treatments they put all these people through.