VANCOUVER, Wash. — Chuck Hagele initially thought it was a prank when staff told him in April that the Dr. Phil TV show was calling.
But it was indeed the nationally popular program on the line, inviting Hagele, executive director of Project PATCH, the Vancouver-based, Christ-centered outreach in Idaho and southwest Washington to families and to troubled teens, to appear in person for a taping of the show. Four days later he flew to Hollywood, put on some makeup, and sat in the audience to help a girl and her family.
The episode, broadcast nationally on May 23 — including on KGW Channel 8 in Portland — told how a fractured family had turned to Dr. Phil McGraw, desperate to get help for 15-year-old Danielle, who they said has a history of lying, acting out and showing inappropriate sexual behavior.
McGraw, along with Troy Dunn, author of Family: The Good F Word: The Life-Changing Action Plan for Building Your Best Family, sat everyone down in hope of a resolution.
McGraw said he looked into Project PATCH, which Danielle’s father was hoping to get the girl into before her mother intervened.
“What an amazing organization and facility,” McGraw told his audience. “We contacted them, and Project PATCH is ready to take Danielle and give her a full scholarship, which I think is an amazing opportunity. I would highly recommend that you seize that opportunity.”
Speaking on camera after being introduced by McGraw, Hagele said, “We love kids, and we love to restore their futures, and even more than that, our dream is for your family to thrive, and we’ll do everything we can to help that happen.”
“I didn’t expect God to use a TV show to get a kid to our program, but it sure made it interesting,” Hagele told Christian News Northwest afterward.
He said Danielle is now in the Project PATCH program and is doing well. The organization itself also has gotten a boost, as the telecast sparked quite a few phone inquiries and applications have increased.
“Most of the traffic was web-related, and it was fun to watch our website in real time when it aired on Friday the 23rd,” he said.
Hagele acknowledged it felt personally a bit strange to be on the show, not only because of the thick makeup they required on his face, but also because McGraw got his last name wrong when introducing him on camera.
For more information on the episode, go to www.drphil.com/shows/show/2236. For more on Project PATCH, go to www.projectpatch.org.