A Letter from the Associate Vice President of Developement






Since October 1993, when Lutheran Social Services purchased the old home located on lovely 20 acres next to Canyon Lake in Central Texas, more than 1400 girls have received help, healing and hope at the New Life Childrens Residential Treatment Center. At any one time, 60 children live, learn and heal at this specialized treatment center for abused girls, ages 11 to 18. In 2007 alone, 150 wonderfully promising young ladies were taught how to change their lives for the better. This healing starts with their knowing they are safe and cared for.


 Abandonment, years of severe physical and sexual abuse and neglect have gravely impacted the emotional, behavioral and physical health of these girls.  New Life is specially designed and professionally staffed to provide a safe environment and 24 hour care to heal the pain, and to teach values and choices totally foreign to the dysfunctional families from which these children have been rescued.  Most are wards of Child and Family Protective Services of Texas.  Each childs therapy and educational program promotes respect for self and others, control of self-harm and other aggressive impulses, the ability to take responsibility for ones own behavior, and fosters self-reliance.


Although suffering very low self-esteem, the majority of these girls exhibit amazing promise and possess the intelligence and strength that will enable them to ultimately accept and internalize the love, discipline and opportunities provided them by caring staff, teachers, mentors and volunteers.  From New Life, about 95% successfully advance to living in a foster home and ultimately may be adopted.


How do these girls emerge from sullen, angry, depressed, distrustful and anguished children into young ladies with the ability to make wise choices for their lives? 


Master level therapists, exceptional Special Education teachers, experienced round-the-clock direct care staff and committed volunteers all arduously work together to extract and nurture the girls God-given potential.  These are persons who do not give up on them.  They work collaboratively combining individualized therapy, tutoring, creative writing, sports, music therapy, life skills classes, scholastic catch-up programs, reward and incentive activities, their Point Store, birthday and holiday celebrations, field trips, etc.  Each newly admitted girl receives an  individual Bag of Hope made and provisioned by a group of dedicated volunteers, along with a new quilt made by area quilters.


The most vital component that sets all LSSS Childrens Treatment Centers apart is the spiritual care provided for the children.  Three years ago New Life hired a Director of Spiritual Care who spearheads volunteer on-site worship services and Bible classes, leads their  spiritual choir and takes the girls who are on level to attend neighborhood worship services. Some of the girls choose to be baptism instruction and are baptized while at New Life.


Over these past fifteen years, the love and faithful support for the girls have been a major component in accomplishing all this at New Life.  Now, spurred by an unexpected $600,000 lead gift, LSSS is working toward completing the following Masters Plan that will enable us to extend more ways of helping the current and future generations of abused girls in Texas.


·     A chapel  (conversion of the existing administration building)

·     A library and four classrooms to be added to the school

·     An administration/public use building

·     A beauty salon/training center

·     Additional therapy rooms

·     A guest house for family and  potential foster parents to use

·     A 90 x 125 covered pavilion for outdoor play and recreation therapy.

·     Covered pens, fenced pens and an agriculture lab with which to begin an Agriculture Program for the girls.

·     Landscaping and an entry plaza with flagpoles.


Close to 25% of the cost of operating New Life is provided by donors.  100% of any and all capital improvements such as these must come from donations and grants.

At present we have successfully raised contributions and commitments for all but $118,000.


Society WILL pay for these forgotten children in one way or another.  Our chance is now to waylay promising young lives being given over to crimes,  resulting in trials, incarcerations and more victims.   We are being afforded this privilege of  effectively giving generations of troubled young women the possibility of a new life.


If this ministry is of interest to you or if you have any questions, please allow me to be of help.




Karen Bernstein

Associate Vice President of Development

Lutheran Social Services of the South, Inc.




P. O. Box 140767

Austin, TX 78714