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Heartlight: Help for Troubled Teens

Parents frantically look for solutions when their teenager displays anger, rebellion, runs away, gets involved in drugs or sex, or otherwise shows self-destructive behavior.  And if things have gotten beyond a parent’s ability to control the child, or if the child is flirting with the law and could face jail time, parents seemingly have nowhere to turn.  That’s why we created Heartlight, 29 years ago.

Since 1988, we’ve helped more than 3,000 troubled teens who have come to live with us at Heartlight, all of whom have struggled immensely.  We’ve shed many tears with their parents, who, at the time, didn’t see the path to make it through the struggle.  These parents were so tired of being called every name in the book, challenged on every thought they’ve ever had, and absolutely depleted because of all the hardship caused in their home by their troubled teen.  Many had lost hope and didn’t think they were going to make it.

But with our help, they did make it.  Heartlight offers a way to break the tension for a family.  We provide around the clock mentoring, counseling and guidance for each teenager in our program, and encouragement and training for the parents as well.  Parents get a needed break and the teenager will get a break from bad influences and gain a new, healthy perspective on life.   In a few months, there’s a renewed interest and respect by the teen for his or her family and rules, and a desire to make something of their life, not a penchant to throw it down the drain as they had been doing.

If your child exhibits some of the signs of needing intense counseling and temporary removal from the home, then I welcome you to check out Heartlight (

The Heartlight formula is loving and relational, not forced or focused on breaking the teen’s spirit.  It is designed to bring light to a troubled teen’s heart and reveal and deal with their struggles, not crush their heart like many of the harsher boot camps and wilderness programs can do.

Heartlight is specifically designed to work with and solve troubled teen issues.  And among only a handful of Christian-focused programs, Heartlight is one of the most effective and least costly choices.

The stay at Heartlight usually lasts 9-12 months.  We have a nearly 1-to-1 ratio of staff to residents on campus.  Throughout the teen’s time at Heartlight, our master-level counseling staff work with them in individual and group counseling sessions and the house staff mentor the teens around the clock.  Our residential staff are younger men and women, all of whom are believers and have a passion for helping teenagers.  Parents are continually updated on the student’s progress and on-campus events and seminars help parents know how to deal with the teenager more effectively.  It is a well-rounded program that focuses on healing of family relationships and better thinking and actions on the part of the teen.

Many of our alumni parents say that Heartlight literally saved their troubled teen from sure self-destruction, or at the very least saved their family from pulling apart at the seams.  Visit our website and check out Heartlight…


Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, radio host, and the founder and director of Heartlight, a residential counseling center for struggling teens located in Longview, Texas.  He has been married to his wife, Jan, for 40 years, has two kids, and four grandkids.  He lives in Longview, Texas, with the Heartlight staff, 60 high school kids, 25 horses, his dog, Stitch, two llamas, and a prized donkey named Toy.

His past involvement as a youth pastor, Young Life area director, and living with more than 2,800 teens has prepared Mark to share his insights and wisdom about parenting pre-teens and adolescents. You can find out more about Heartlight at HeartlightMinistries.orgYou can also call Heartlight directly at (903) 668-2173.

Mark is also the host of the radio program Parenting Today’s Teen; heard on over 1,600 radio outlets nationwide. Visit where you’ll find more parenting resources and find a station near you that carries the daily 60-second features or the 30-minute weekend program.  Download the Parenting Today’s Teens App for Apple or Android, it’s a great way to listen on your schedule.

Author: Mark Gregston

Mark Gregston began working with teens more than 40 years ago as a youth minister and Young Life director. He has authored nearly two dozen books, has written hundreds of articles, and is host of the nationally-acclaimed Parenting Today’s Teens podcast and radio broadcast.