Once Upon a Mountain

once-upon-a-mountainBy:  Julie Beem

Once Upon a Mountain is a great title for this documentary, which is so full of the ethereal beauty of Jasper Mountain.  Heck, the children even get to live in a castle.  The dormitory building was designed to look like a castle, at the children’s request.  And as Jasper Mountain’s director, Dr. Dave Zeigler points out, the castle symbolizes both a place where childhood imagination is sparked and a fortress – a place of protection and safety – something traumatized children need.

Symbols are important at Jasper Mountain, as the dedicated staff seek to reach the most wounded children around.  “We like to take the children no one else will take,” Joyce Zeigler smiles…and she means it.  Their devotion to healing the hurting hearts of these children is seen throughout this film, including an incredibly moving ceremony where the children earn various polished gems that symbolize their emotional growth.

At Jasper Mountain they practice neuro-reparative therapy, recognizing that early trauma changes the children’s brains and that consistent nurture and structure along with the understanding of the root of these children’s behaviors is what makes the healing possible.

Jasper Mountain has an amazing track record of that healing.  And this documentary shows us how they build that trust and connection with the children.  The open and compassionate hearts of the staff are so evident in all they do.  When a former student comes back as an adult to tell them about their impact on his life and about his successful family and career, the unconditional love for him is so apparent.

It’s hard to decide which is more beautiful in this film – the incredible love and compassion the Zeiglers and their staff have for these wounded children or the fantastically beautiful setting of this Oregon mountain.  For many this place of “last resort” is a fairy tale of healing come true.

Once Upon a Mountain is available for purchase through Jasper Mountain

Once Upon a Mountain will be screening at a NATA Day viewing party:

  • On June 19 in Holliston, MA
  • On June 30 in Singapore

Julie has been ATN's Executive Director since 2009. She joined the organization in 2004 after finding incredible support from fellow ATNers when she was searching for answers about her own daughter's early childhood trauma and attachment disorders. Julie leads a staff of passionate professionals and acts as spokesperson for the organization. Prior to ATN, Julie was the president of a marketing and communications consultancy, The Epiphany Group, and has over two decades of experience in professional services marketing, strategic planning and communication strategies. As a graduate of Partners in Policymaking and through personal experience, Julie has garnered a great deal of experience in the areas of special education, school issues, and disabilities advocacy. A published author, Julie wrote a chapter in the EMK Press Adoption Parenting book and was the special needs blogger at Adoptionblogs.com for two years. She frequently presents workshops on attachment and trauma to local and national groups. Email Julie. Julie holds an MBA from Avila College in Kansas City and was a Certified Professional Services Marketer. Julie, and her husband Dave, are parents to four (bio, step and adoptive), including their youngest daughter, adopted from China. This daughter’s attachment difficulties and developmental trauma disorder have changed their lives significantly…in amazing ways.