Narvin and Nathaniel Lichfield: Where are the WWASP Programs Director and his Son Now?

Behavior modification programs for troubled teens have often been a controversial subject, involving strict rules and disciplinary measures to alter behavior. The Netflix documentary ‘The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping’ delves into the operations of one such program, the Academy at Ivy Ridge, affiliated with the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP).

This original production not only sheds light on the challenges faced by individuals who were once enrolled in these programs but also scrutinizes the roles of various leaders within the organization. Narvin Lichfield is one such Utah native belonging to the latter category, and his son, Nathaniel Lichfield also comes forward to share his stance on the organization’s operations and his relationship with his father.

Who are Narvin and Nathaniel Lichfield?

Narvin Lichfield, the brother of Robert Lichfield, found his way into the troubled teen industry through his brother’s undeniable success. Coming from a background of limited resources, he used to work as a car salesman, yet seeing his elder sibling’s achievements in establishing the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASP), he sought involvement in the business. Robert initially brought him into Teen Help, the marketing and admissions division of WWASP, providing him with a foothold in the industry.

Narvin thus relocated to St. George in Utah, bringing his family with him. Amongst them is Nathaniel Lichfield, one of the former’s four. He revealed in the documentary that when he was around 5 or 6 years old, he noticed a significant increase of wealth in their household. The family began indulging in a better lifestyle, took lavish vacations, and engaged in other luxuries too. In his professional role, Narvin played a pivotal part in marketing and excelled in early search engine optimization (SEO), significantly contributing to the program’s outreach and impact.

Seeking more responsibility, Narvin then requested and received the opportunity to move to South Carolina. In 1998, he initiated the Carolina Springs Academy, serving as one of the behavioral correctional programs under WWASP. Subsequently, he also assumed leadership at overseeing the Academy at Dundee Ranch, situated in Costa Rica. He also enrolled Nathaniel for a few months in the program there. However, the Costa Rica program faced legal scrutiny just 19 months after its inception, as authorities conducted a raid based on allegations of child abuse and mistreatment.

Following the closure of the Academy at Dundee Ranch and Narvin’s arrest on charges of child abuse, he was eventually found innocent after the trial due to a lack of clear, incriminating evidence. A mere seven months after the academy’s closure, he restructured the program under a new name, Pillars of Hope. This program allegedly admitted individuals between the ages of 18-22, although there were accusations that children below the age of 18 were also enrolled. Narvin also appointed his son Nathaniel as the principal of the Gulf Coast Academy in Mississippi. Nathaniel admitted that he lacked educational qualifications for the position and was placed there by his father.

Narvin Lichfield is a Digital Creator, while Nathaniel Lichfield is an Aspiring Novelist Today

Narvin Lichfield, also known by various names like Marvin and Nathan, has faced legal scrutiny and operated under different guises. The Pillars of Hope facility eventually shut down after a decline in enrollment, and Narvin has encountered legal issues related to illegal deer hunting, receiving five tickets from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Following the controversies surrounding WWASP, most schools under its umbrella closed down by 2010. Narvin resides in Lehi, Utah, with his wife Suzette Jettaun Lichfield, and boasts of a large family with four kids and five step-kids. He frequently shares pictures of exotic holidays and cruises, presenting himself as a digital creator.

Nathaniel Lichfield, reflecting on his experiences, revealed that as he entered his 20s, he became increasingly aware of the detrimental impact such organizations and programs had on the children and families involved. Disturbed by this realization, he decided to sever ties with his father and now only interacts with him indirectly through other family members, such as his sister, every few years.

Nathaniel alleged that his father continues to operate and oversee adolescent programs worldwide, albeit under different names. Today, Nathaniel, a resident of Ogen in Utah, is a father himself and actively supports survivors who have endured such teenage programs. He identifies as a “fanatical leftist, socialist, atheist” and is working on a novel also. He frequently engages in fundraisers and provides insights into the systemic issues allowing such programs to persist.

Read More: Robert Lichfield: The WWASP Founder Now Prefers to Keep a Low Profile