“A Relational Atmosphere Committed to Excellence”
Since our humble beginning in 1988, Heartlight has become the country’s premier residential counseling center and boarding school for struggling teens aged 13-17.
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.
“Every single aspect of Heartlight – the grounds, programming, parent and family retreats, staff, educational provisions and resources for parents – is professionally and compassionately offered. We are grateful to God and His ministry offered through Mark and the staff at Heartlight”. –A Heartlight Parent
Mark and Jan Gregston first started working with teens when they were just 19 years old, as Young Life Leaders in Tulsa, Oklahoma. All through their college years, Mark and Jan worked with kids, got married, had kids of their own, and poured their life into their passion….struggling teens.
After spending 7 years on the First Methodist Church staff in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mark and Jan moved to Branson, Missouri and lived at Kanakuk Kamp. During their time in Branson, Mark was the Area Director of Young Life, and started a residential counseling program for struggling teens, only to leave there in 1988 and move to Hallsville, Texas, when he started Heartlight Ministries.
During their 32 years in Texas, Heartlight has become one of the country’s finest residential counseling centers and boarding school for struggling teens, and known throughout North America as the “place to be” if your teen is having a tough time and hope is diminishing.
Mark has taken all the experience he has gained in working in the various youth ministry experiences and developed resources to help parents nationwide. He’s authored 18 books, has written hundreds of articles about parenting teens in a difficult culture, and is also the host of the nationally acclaimed radio program, Parenting Today’s Teens, which was honored to receive the 2014 Program of the Year award from the National Religious Broadcasters. These programs are heard on over 1,700 radio outlets throughout North America.
From his 45 years of experience of working with teens and their families, Mark shares his insight and wisdom through seminars, retreats, and conferences, taking up all his free weekends. Mark’s wit and wisdom, shared through stories and reflections of his involvement with teens brings biblical insight and practical help to all who hear him share his heart about families and teens.
Lessons learned from those that have struggled with their teens, are communicated to parents preparing their child for the teen years, or find themselves caught in the turbulent adolescent years with their teen through the mediums of the spoken and written word.
Mark and his wife Jan, have been married for 44 years and have two children, both of whom are married and have blessed them with four wonderful grandchildren. Heartlight is family oriented, and family run. Their children work with them insuring there is always hope and help for families searching for something different in their parenting style.
Mark and Jan live on the Heartlight property, and spend a lot of their free time engaging with kids and staff, and leading parent and family retreats on the weekends.
Heartlight began in 1988 as a dream of Mark and Jan Gregston’s to develop place of hope for parents who were struggling with their teens. Dedicated to building a program that is saturated in relationships, Mark and Jan lived in the house with kids as the program began, and through the years, the capacity of kids has increased to 56 teens supported by a staff of 40.
Through the years, more and more log cabins were built, reflecting more of a relaxed atmosphere that invited deep conversations, loving relationships, effective Christian based counseling program, and an active lifestyle.
One would look at the Heartlight property and guess that there was a master plan in it’s buildings and development. Mark would tell you otherwise. He’s stated many times that there was never a “master plan”, but he always felt the Master had a plan. So to Him, Mark and Jan left the details of what Heartlight was going to be. And what its become is a place of help and hope for thousands of families who either place their child at Heartlight, or attend one of the many conferences or retreats.
Heartlight is a combination of a camp atmosphere and the intensity of therapy that is immersed in relationships. Young Life’s influence can be felt in all activities. A camp’s activities can be seen in all the program schedules. And, the love of a committed staff dedicated to excellence can be experienced on every level of interaction. It is truly a unique place that has become a haven of help and hope for struggling parents and teens.
A Note from Mark
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.
Founder of Heartlight