2021 Anne Sullivan Award Recipient

Each year the CERTS Group of Programs honors a chosen few of their mentoring staff with the Anne Sullivan Award. This award for a mentoring staff’s dedication to the students and their fellow peers is named after Helen Keller’s lifelong teacher Anne Sullivan. Anne showed complete commitment and dedication to her pupil. She improved Helen Keller’s quality of life by teaching her new skills. This is what each Anne Sullivan Award Recipient does for students at the CERTS Programs–improves their life through teaching them new skills. These skills help our students learn to have a life worth living finding joy in their journey. This year the two recipients of this tremendous 2021 Anne Sullivan Award are Eddie Calamity at Moonridge Academy an  Brianna “Bri” Corliss at Kolob Canyon.

Eddie Calamity Moonridge Academy Anne Sullivan Award Recipient https://www.moonridgeacademy.com/news

Eddie is such a talented leader on the Moonridge Academy campus.  His fellow staff look up to him with respect often following his direction and example.  Eddie is the true definition of calm.  Students and staff alike routinely turn to Eddie for advice, validation, support and understanding.  Eddie helps our students both in challenging times and also at times of great fun.  We feel so grateful that Eddie is part of our team.  Thank you Eddie!  We love you!

Brianna “Bri” Corliss Kolob Canyon Anne Sullivan Award Recipient https://www.kolobcanyonrtc.com/Newsletter

We asked our students and staff, “What is it that you love and admire about Bri?”  There answers will easily help you see why she is so exemplary in her role as a mentor staff.  

“I appreciate her balance betwen firm boundaries and expectation and kindness and connection.”

“I love hearing from students how Bri is able to be a good role model for all of the students.”

“Bri isn’t afraid to try and do new things.”

“I have enjoyued here quiet and gentle pressence on shift.”

“Even when Bri is freezing at the barn, she has a smile and positive attitude.”

“Bri is so willing to help out in any way and she does it with a smile.”

“She is so great with all of the students and all of the staff.”

“Bri is direct and compassionate at the same time.”

“Bri makes the people working with her better.”

“Bri’s calm yet assertive pressencee is so nice to be around.”

“Bri is able to smile and have a positive attitude even when things are difficult.”

“Bri has a remarkable balance of holding limits and showing care to our students.”

Thank you Eddie and Bri for you dedication to our students. Thank you for being all in, every day, for every students. We are so grateful for you and that you are on our team.

CERTS Programs Honor Veterans

In honor of Veterans Day, retired Air Force 2-Star General Kathy Thomas, Vietnam Veteran and the first female general officer in the Air Force Space Command spoke to students at the CERTS Programs, Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy.

General Thomas shared with the students her stories of serving throughout the world, aiding in diplomacy missions, mobilizing troops following the 9/11 attacks, and – in her opinion, most importantly – helping change the rules and removing the obstacles for women in the armed forces.  General Thomas shared funny stories about having to wear skirts in negative 75 degree weather on base in Minot, North Dakota, and how she helped convince the Air Force of the folly of that gender-based rule.  She shared touching stories of supporting struggling troops, and how leadership is not in the speeches you make, or the ribbons on your lapel, but in the moments of service and true connection you give to others.  The students were enthralled with how many places she has been to, and served in the world, as well as how many Presidents of the United States she had personally met.

General Thomas focused on the 3 Core Values of the Air Force:
1) Excellence in Everything You Do
2) Service to Others
3) Integrity, Always Be Honest  

She shared how these values will lead to a successful, happy life, regardless of being in the military or not.  The students showed great interest in what General Thomas had to share.  Many asked for her autograph after she spoke.  General Thomas now spends her retirement in Southern Utah, mentoring teens and young adults pursuing higher education and/or military service.  We are grateful to have had General Thomas share her life service with us.


CERTS Outcome Data Looks Impressive

Parents often ask, “What is your success rate?”  This is a difficult question to answer since each student comes to a CERTS Program with unique challenges and at different places in the treatment process.  CERTS knows that outcome research is important – being able to qualify and prove that treatment works, as well as receiving constant feedback and indicators for improvement, helps us assure families that their work and investment is well placed.  Two of our programs–Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy are designated as Gold Research Programs through NATSAP.

To help monitor our student’s progress, CERTS has utilized the Youth Outcome Questionnaire (YOQ) to track outcome data for over 8 years.  Every October we summarize that data for each CERTS program and provide this information on our websites, to parents and education consultants to document our outcomes.   CERTS outcome data continues to be very impressive!

These graphs can help you track our outcomes.  Each graph starts with an indication of how much distress a student was in when they admitted to a CERTS program.  On the YOQ tool the higher the number, the more distress the student is experiencing compared to typical same aged teens.  Following intensive treatment and family work,  our students at discharge demonstrate a significant decrease in their distress level. In fact, our students leave treatment well below the average teen, and maintain progress throughout the next year – even with the anticipated transition challenges and reintroduction of “normal life” stressors.  The data for Mountain Springs is slightly different.  This is because students enrolling at Mountain Springs Prep have most often completed both a wilderness and residential treatment program.  We are tracing their maintenance of skills they have learned.  It is encouraging to see that they are able to maintain and succeed at Mountain Springs as well as afterwards when they return home.

Click on each graph below to go to the program’s website to learn more.

La Europa Academy Outcome Data


Moonridge Academy Outcome Data


Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy Outcome Data


Kolob Canyon Outcome Data


Mosaic House Outcome Data


Carrying On With Covid-19: What We Have Learned

By this time there are probably very few treatment programs that haven’t been directly touched by Covid-19, whether in students or employees.  And it’s a situation we’ve all had to quickly learn to prevent, address, respond to, and manage.  The collaboration and support between NATSAP programs has been inspiring as everyone is navigating this together.  Even at the CERTS Group Programs–Mountain Springs, La Europa Academy, Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy– we’ve encountered some students and staff contracting the virus, despite high levels of precautions – and we’re so thankful that each incident has cleared quickly and without issue.

Here is what we have learned and what we’ve done with Covid-19 Guidelines…

  1. In most instances, positive cases were completely asymptomatic or at most had very mild cold symptoms for 1-2 days, so detection can be challenging.
  2. All students are required to wear masks, when outside of the dorms.  All employees are required to wear masks.
  3. Social distancing is always encouraged.
  4. Frequent handwashing and disinfecting surfaces is just a way of life now.
  5. Symptomatic and positive Covid students are immediately quarantined as per CDC guidelines.
  6. We have been able to section off areas of the dorms for safe quarantining with good ventilation, meal deliveries, etc.
  7. Frequent tests area administered on all students and employees whenever we have encountered a positive case to quickly reduce further spread.
  8. If an employee tests positive, they immediately quarantine at home for the recommended 10-14 days before being cleared to return to work.
  9. Student have been able to seamlessly continue with their schooling and therapy through online platforms, even when in quarantine.
  10. Our off-campus activity options are always being adjusted as necessary, as dictated by local levels of outbreak and CDC recommendations.
  11. All new students enrolling, must be tested and have a negative test result before admitting and joining the other students on campus.
  12. We continue to restrict tours on our campus.
  13. Parent visits and home visits have enhanced testing and quarantining requirements to help increase the safety of everyone.  All students returning from a home visit or off-campus visit are tested and remain in quarantine with their parents or in our quarantine house until they receive a negative test result.
  14. We are coordinating the times of home visits and parent visits to ensure that testing can occur with results obtained in a reasonable amount of time.
  15. We are using a private lab in St. George for all of our testing.  This has helped make this process so much easier with results obtained in 24-36 hours in most instances.

   And With All of This During Covid-19….

CERTS Programs have been able to continue safely admitting new students, and we have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from our parents on our handing and communication with the pandemic.  None of us could have ever predicted the curve balls of 2020, but we’re pretty proud of how it’s going!

How Are We Doing with Covid-19?

During this time of Covid-19, the safety of our students, their families and our staff is of great importance at the CERTS Group.  With the need for changing protocols and guidelines to stay in step with recommendations from the CDC and Health Department, we wanted to see how we were doing….so we sent our parents a survey asking for their feedback.  Here is a sample of what our parents had to say:    

     Current Covid-19 Guidelines and Protocols 

  • Staff temperatures are taken each day at the beginning of shift.  Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher is sent home.
  • Staff complete a questionnaire about symptoms each day as they begin their shift.
  • Clinicians, teachers and staff wear masks in the classroom and in meetings.
  • Initially we cancelled off campus and home visits.  This was very difficult for our students and their parents. We have since re instituted visits in the area as well as home visits for some of our students.  We follow strict protocols following a visit ensuring that students are tested for Covid-19 and then remain in quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
  • New students are also tested prior to admission and are quarantined until they receive a negative test result.
  • Our students are still participating in outdoor activities such as hiking.  When away from campus our students are following social distancing guidelines and wearing masks.
  • All of our programs are following their regular academic schedules and recreation schedules with modifications made to activities to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

Providing Individualized Treatment

At the CERTS Programs we understand that each student has unique needs.  Providing individualized treatment is something that is very important to us.  Not all students respond the same and through individualized treatment, CERTS Programs are able to meet a student where they are at rather than try to fit that student into a specific type of treatment approach.

How does each CERTS Program provide individualized treatment?

La Europa Academy

La Europa Academy provides two different entry points when a student enrolls providing individualized treatment.  La Europa provides a Traditional Track and a year ago added the On Point Track.  What track a student enters is determined by discussions between the La Europa Treatment Team.  The On Point Track encourages learning and practicing of transition skills sooner rather than later.   The On Point student is not quite ready for the freedom of a transition program, but does not need the intensive oversight and structure of a residential level of care.  They should demonstrate insight into themselves and others, a desire to change, increased motivation, and a high level of self-awareness.  These students will receive intensive clinical support, full-time school with direct instruction, and life skill education.  All students will then advance to the LEAPS Track which provides additional opportunities for independence and transition.  Learn more about the individualized program by visiting the La Europa Academy website.

Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy

Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy  has created a unique and powerful program to help students achieve their individual goals and pursuits.  They call this goal process the MAPP Plan, which is an acronym that stands for Master Academic and Personal Progress Plan. The MAPP plan is a document that consists of goals in the areas of academics, personal progress, family and future planning. The MAPP plan help student develop life-goals that are aimed at helping them become the happiest, most successful, healthiest individual they can be. The MAPP plan is created based on input from a multitude of different sources, including the student themselves, their parents, their therapist, their Advisor and the academic faculty. The MAPP plan is what allows us to individualize programming to every student at Mountain Springs and make sure that each students unique goals and needs are met.  Each student has their own personal Advisor who meets regularly with them to review and work on MAPP plan goals. In addition, the Advisor helps the student resolve any conflicts or struggles they may be having. Also, the Advisor helps the student get extracurricular activities/interests set up in the community. You can learn more by visiting the Mountain Springs Prep website.

Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy

Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy each utilize something called The Personal Greatness Program which is a unique, self-paced journey of self-discovery.  Both Kolob and Moonridge want their students to learn that they all have greatness within them.  The Personal Greatness Program is designed to help a teen discover their own unique talents and abilities.  Using a stage system, it introduces certain basic principles of life to a student in a sequential format.  This gives the treatment team the opportunity to observe, allowing each student to receive extra attention from staff.  As a student begins to understand and live according to the principles of one stage, they are able to move to the next stage where they are exposed to another set of principles and privileges.  At each level, a student has a list of requirements that are individually tailored for their specific needs by their therapist and the treatment team.  Each requirement helps a student learn more about themselves and reinforces the specific principles they have been taught on that stage.  Many of the requirements included learning DBT skills and then practicing those skills in day-to-day life.  There is no set time period for how long a student should be on a stage.  Because of this individualized treatment program a student might spend more time on some stages and less on others.  You can learn more about The Personal Greatness Programs by visiting the website for both Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy.

CERTS feels that with individualized treatment students will progress more quickly and develop the skills they need to be successful in their daily lives.


Resources for Parent Support During Covid-19

There is a lot of information in the news about the Covid-19 Virus.  All of this information can feel daunting to parents who have children in treatment during this uncertain period.  Depending on your situation and where you live, you might be social distancing, sheltering in place, self-quarantining, working from home, taking care of children not in school AND elderly parents in your home.  Wow, so much!   It is easy for parents to feel overwhelmed and a bit out of control.  As a parent you are so busy taking care of others, you probably aren’t thinking about your own needs or doing any self-care.   At the CERTS Programs we want you to know that you are NOT alone!  Our goal is to provide resources for parent support during this difficult time. We hear you and want to help provide some parent support resources not only to our CERTS parents, but to other parents who might be looking at our website.

The good news is that CERTS Parent Education has some wonderful on demand webinars that can provide you with much needed connection, information and parent support.   On Friday March 20th, Jack Hinman, the Executive Director of two CERTS Programs–Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy provided a wonderful LIVE webinar about Self-Care during Covid-19.  This informative webinar provided CERTS parents with examples of how they can better care for their own emotional needs.   To access this webinar, just click on the arrow below:

In addition to this webinar about parent support during Covid-19, CERTS also has a number of previously recorded webinars on our CERTS Parent Education Channel.  Many of these webinars talk about self-care, relationships, meditation and other helpful information about parenting a child in treatment.  Below are some of the webinars that specifically address parent support through self-care.

We hope that some of these resources can be helpful as a means of parent support during this time of uncertainty.


Building Projects Improve CERTS Campuses

The CERTS Programs are highly invested in improving the quality of life for the teens that we support.  We provide sophisticated clinical services, mentor coaching and therapeutic environments in which our students can gain the skills they need to be successful in life.  In addition to this support, we believe that our students need to have facilities that enhance their treatment journey.  CERTS is continually working to improve our campuses.   The past few years have seen new buildings completed at La Europa Academy and Moonridge Academy.  Moonridge Academy also just completed renovations to their adorable farmhouse residence.  Mountain Springs completed two Bridge Houses in 2018 and early 2019 and a new student activity building is currently underway.

CERTS–La Europa Academy

La Europa Academy was thrilled when their new building was completed in November 2018.  This beautiful  addition adds considerable space for expressive therapies, academics and clinical services.  The new building houses a ceramics room, sand tray room and art room thus providing opportunities for students to explore and heal through music, dance, visual arts, ceramics, sand tray therapy and photography.  The spacious new dance room is 1200 square feet for La Europa students to move their bodies.  In addition to expressive arts space, the new building also increased academic space with classrooms, a library, community room, computer lab, and lockers.  Students and teachers alike will benefit from these spacious areas where creativity, learning and independent study can abound.  Clinical space rounds out this impressive building with therapist offices and group rooms making it easier for La Europa students to receive individual, family and group therapy.

CERTS–Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy

The new Bridge to Independence Program and houses on the Mountain Springs campus were completed last year.  These new homes provide a well scaffolded and immersive environment for students to practice increasing levels of self-initiative, responsibility, and independence in their lives.  All of this while maintaining receptivity to mentorship, skill-building, and interdependence with others as a young adult.  The Bridge Program is a continuation and enhancement of the Mountain Springs Preparatory experience and is not a stand alone program.  The new beautifully built and decorated independence houses will provide 8 additional beds for male students in our male independence house and 8 additional beds for female students in our female independence house.

Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy was excited to begin construction on a 6500 sq ft Student Recreation Center in the fall of 2019.   This beautiful new building will provide more space, more student activities, and well…just more! Expected to be completed this coming summer, this beautiful Modern Craftsman design will add a movie theater, music room, art studio and kiln, recording studio, inside/outside gathering areas, study rooms, and a multipurpose room.  Wow, talk about improving the quality of daily life for our students!   We are so thrilled for this dream to become reality!

CERTS–Moonridge Academy

Moonridge Academy was literally giddy with excitement to add a beautiful new, green-built building to their campus providing therapy offices for their amazing clinical team, a conference room, school rooms, study hall, administrative offices, and a covered porch for outside activities.  Moonridge also created a new riding arena to bring equine therapy and horseback riding skills closer to the other parts of our campus.  Life at Moonridge just got even better!   When Moonridge Academy completed their new Academic and Clinical Building they couldn’t wait to start renovating their adorable farmhouse residence.  In the past few months Moonridge has remodeled previous office space into new bedrooms, created a fantastic game room in our former school area and expanded their  laundry room. (Who knew that a laundry room could bring so much joy?!)  There is simply more space for our “tweenagers” to hang out, play games, and connect.  Anyone up for a game of foosball?



Putting the ART in Therapy–Expressive Therapies at La Europa

Expressive therapies provide a powerful alternative to traditional therapeutic methods for adolescents who may not know how to talk about their feelings in therapy or for those who have been exposed to a lot of talk therapy. Through these modalities students are able to communicate emotions and experiences that have been difficult to reach, and help create a bridge to much needed healing. The variety of expressive therapies at La Europa deepen the therapeutic process, build self-awareness and increase confidence, even for students who do not consider themselves “artistic”.

We have an amazing Expressive Therapies Team…

La Europa is unique for its breadth and depth of expressive offerings and its investment in licensed and board certified practitioners that are accredited in their specialties. This level of expertise turns glitter, pom poms, hula hoops and an iTunes playlist into therapeutic progress.

Art Therapist:  Malissa Morrell, LMFT, ATRBC

Malissa is a nationally board certified art therapist and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She loves to help teens and their families find creative solutions in difficult situations. As the director of the expressive team, she coordinates the clinical and expressive therapies.


Music Therapist:  Ada Mae Crouse MA, MT-BC

Ada Mae is a State-certified and Board-certified music therapist with over 30 years of experience in clinical music therapy and a Masters degree in Psychology of Music. Her years of training included studying violin at Julliard School of Music. Her expertise breaks down walls, and allows students to push through their anxiety.

Dance/Body Movement Therapist:  Paula Naatz MA, BC-DMT, RYT

Paula is a board certified dance movement therapist. She believes in developing whole body integration and awareness in a variety of ways. Her groups help students build a healthy relationship in their own body and will explore healthy boundaries in other relationships.


Recreation Therapist:  Nikki North, MS, MTRS

Nikki has a Masters degree in therapeutic recreation and has been a recreational therapist for the last 10 years. She is also trained in sand tray therapy and integrates her training in DBT.


Expressive Therapies Groups Offered at La Europa

Groups are chosen carefully to cater to students’ strengths and push them out of their comfort zone to foster increased insight.  Each week students will participate in 4 of the 13 expressive groups we have available totaling up to 6 hours.  Groups are chosen carefully based on the student’s interests, and are intended to help students try new things that will push them out of their comfort zone fostering a new understanding of their own needs. Here are some examples of the types of expressive therapy groups available:

  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Dance/Movement Therapy
  • Creative Writing Therapy
  • Psychodrama
  • Singer/Songwriter Music Therapy
  • Sand Tray Therapy
  • Recreational Therapy



2019 Has Been An Incredible Year at the CERTS Programs

As we reach the end of 2019, we at the CERTS Programs are so incredibly grateful for this year.  With new buildings, new staff, new training and new directions we feel that we continue to provide the support and services needed for families in need.  This year two of the CERTS Programs added new buildings to their campuses to enhance treatment.  In January 2019 Mountain Springs Preparatory Academy officially completed building and opened up the Bridge House for their female students to add to the Bridge House for male students that we completed in 2018.  This beautiful new residence is on the Mountain Springs Campus, but is separate from the other dorms allowing for more autonomy.  The Bridge Program allows students to live more independently learning how to transition into college or living on their own.  Students living at the Bridge Houses need to be at least 17 years old, have jobs or actively volunteer, take classes both at Mountain Springs and often at the local university, receive a monthly stipend and create a monthly budget, shop for their own groceries, make their own meals, make their own appointments, and have greater opportunities to make their own decisions.  It is really a true opportunity to practice “adulting”.  Mountain Springs also broke ground on our new Student Recreation Center!!!  Scheduled to be completed in 2020, this incredible new building will bring so much to our campus with a theater, recording studio, art room, computer area and places for students to hang out and socialize.  We are excited as the building process moves forward!

Moonridge Academy, another CERTS Program completed construction on their new Academic and Clinical Building.  This amazing new space added classrooms, a conference room, study hall, therapist offices and administrative offices to their campus.  In turn, this opened up space in the lovely farmhouse used as a residence allowing Moonridge Academy to add an additional 8 beds.  We are thrilled to be able to provide support and a healing environment to even more students and their families.  As the program has grown this year, Moonridge Academy welcomed two new therapists Annette and Ashley to their staff and will be adding another new therapist in January 2020.  With the addition of these amazing therapists, Moonridge Academy has focused more on trauma informed care and somatic therapies such as Brainspotting and EMDR.  Moonridge Academy and her big sister school Kolob Canyon introduced their new Admissions Director Wendy Penrod in September 2019.  We are thrilled to have her on our team!

With their new breeding program, Kolob Canyon, a CERTS Program that focuses on Adventure Therapy and Equine opportunities added three new baby horses to their campus in 2019.  There is literally nothing more cute than little foals and colts frolicking on campus.  Kolob also started a horse fostering program working in conjunction with a local horse rescue.  The students at Kolob Canyon have especially loved working these often ill and undernourished horses, nursing them back to health.  It can however be hard when the horses leave Kolob to be adopted by caring families.  The students are happy for the horses, but so sad to see them go.  Kolob Canyon and Moonridge Academy clinical teams spent time this fall training in Natural Lifemanship which is a trauma focused equine psychotherapy.  Natural Lifemanship concentrates on establishing a connection between the student and the horse.  This is so important for students who have struggled with trauma and attachment issues.

CERTS Program, La Europa Academy officially moved into their new Expressive Arts, Clinical and Academic Building in early 2019.  This building was completed at the very end of 2018.  This impressive building hosts space for all of the expressive arts including body movement, sand tray, art, music and ceramics that are so essential to the program at La Europa.  Our clinical team is thrilled to have lovely new offices that are now located directly on our campus and the academic team is excited about their new classrooms.  La Europa also welcomed two new therapists–Leslie and Jameson–to their clinical team.  The impressive clinical team at La Europa received extensive training in RO-DBT which will help students who struggle with over-control.  Some of the most exciting news at La Europa this year is the addition of the On-Point Program which will specifically meet the needs of a student who needs the clinical support of residential treatment, but doesn’t need the same degree of scaffolding.

Wow!  It has been an exciting year at CERTS Programs.  We can’t wait to see what 2020 brings!