Caroline Cole: Ivy Ridge Survivor is Now an Activist and Podcast Host

As a Katherine Kubler-directed documentary series living up to its title in every way conceivable, Netflix’s ‘The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping’ can only be described as utterly haunting. That’s because it delves deep into every aspect of how troubled teens’ disciplinary schools have only ever done more harm than good with their institutionalized and normalized abusive tactics. So now, if you simply wish to learn more about survivor Carolina Cole — with a particular focus on her experiences as well as current standing — we’ve got the necessary details for you.

Who is Carolina Cole?

It was back when Carolina was merely 14 that she was sent away to the Academy at Ivy Ridge in small town Ogdensburg, New York, only for it to turn her entire world upside down. She once candidly said, “The things that I witnessed, as far as physical restraints, as far as staff antagonizing these young people, saying things like nobody wants us, “If they wanted you, you would be home,” and, of course, staff on student relationships and an overall lack of educational or treatment standards altogether. It was a nightmare to go through.” Though little did she realize her troubles had only begun.

That’s because once Carolina was free at nearly 17, she unfortunately fell into extreme poverty while also experiencing domestic abuse as well as severe substance addiction. She was eventually also diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s when she decided to turn over a new leaf, got sober, and enrolled at the University of Central Oklahoma for a Bachelor’s in Psychology (2016-2021) before pursuing another Bachelor’s in Advocacy and Social Justice Issues from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

It turns out Carolina had actually kickstarted her career back in 2010 as a Compliance Consultant at TEECHMO before evolving into a Certified Procurement + Administrative Officer at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services Careers from 2013-2019. As if that’s not enough, she even served as Executive Assistant at Front Porch Initiative for a couple of years and as the Advocacy Manager at Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter for another. However, it was her 2019 established carrer that has given her most reputation

Where is Carolina Cole Now?

Carolina is now dedicated to helping others, which is why she now serves as a policy advocate, is the co-host of ‘Trapped in Treatment’ podcast, the Co-Founder of a non-profit named Unsilenced, and Special Advisor to the International Coalition Against Restraint and Seclusion. She also participated in the Rise Justice Labs’ legislative accelerator program and co-penned institutional abuse survivor’s rights into the federal bill The Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act which was successfully passed in. “It has taken me all of the past 17 years to figure out how to live normally,” she said in 2024. I would say that’s a fair statement, to live normally again.”

Carolina then said, “I would love to talk about Breaking Code Silence. So, we are survivor-led, non-profit organization. We have over 200 volunteers. We are all volunteers, and we all have lived experience in this industry. And so, over the course of many years–and I will say that there are advocates who have come before us who have been blowing the whistle on this issue for decades – – we share a space together online, and we really just started by lamenting about our experiences and wanting to connect with other people who had been through what we had been through.”

“And trying to figure out, you know, what are some of the challenges that we have been through since,” Carolina expressed. “So, in that shared space, over time, it became very apparent that we have got to act, because many of us have children now, and we’re seeing this affect their generation in our communities. And so, we are now adults and in positions of power and leadership where we can effect change.” Coming to this Human Rights and Mental Health Advocate, Change Maker, plus Podcast Host’s personal standing, from what we can tell, this survivor resides in Oklahoma City at the moment, where she’s surrounded by a loving partner plus their three kids.

Read More: Ken Kay: Where is the President of WWASP Now?