Alumni Questionnaire ← Back to Index
Chana Cortez (Guhl):
What is your name?
Chana Cortez (Guhl)
To which institutions were you sent?
How old were you?
When were you enrolled in The Program?
May '76 to March '77
What was the highest level you attained?
4th or 5th whatever it was to graduate out
Please describe the circumstances that got you sent to The Program:
Problems at home; parents divorced and remarried. didn't fit; dad religious with marriage problems, mom, in abusive relationship with her own problems, was buying me and my friends booze.
In which house(s) did you live?
Started on campus then moved to house near hotel Pinar Dorado, don't remember house name, Vern and Beth were house parents, Carolyn was group leader Bill was teacher
Please describe instances of abuse you experienced while in the program, if any:
When I started there wasn't much staff supervision, the girls checked my things in and told me how they raped the last new girl with a coke bottle and a broom stick. I was intimidated and afraid, told them they could have whatever they wanted.
Describe abuse of other students you witnessed, if any:
Mostly heard about abuses in the boys' houses, saw runaways get long hair cut short or shaved.
Do you have any good memories of The Program? If so, what are they?
The country was beautiful and there were some good staff, I was lucky to be in the house I was.
What is your overall impression of The Program? Did it “help you”?
Not in the way they intended. I learned to be a survivor and take care of myself, not be too trusting and do what I needed to to play the game and get out of there.
What do you think of the quality of education you received?
Luckily I was already done with HS so I took college correspondance courses through University of Nebraska on my own, no teacher or staff help.
How old are you today?
Did you go to college after attending The Program? If so, what degrees do you have?
I finished much later, got my ADN/RN at 36
What is your profession?
Do you consider yourself a Christian today?
Yes, but not conventional. I don't go to church, it's very personal for me, I don't want to be a bad advertisement like so many are. The problem with religion is people.
What effect did “The Program” have on your faith?
I was brought up knowing all about the Bible, but learned about faith and a personal relationship through a couple of key staff.
Please feel free to add comments here:
I think the program was very corrupt from the top (the Blossoms), and has gotten worse over time. There were a few good staff, but they don't last, it's a disillusioning and unnatural environment. It is not Christian as it claimed to be.