Here's what others are saying about New Beginnings TLC:
"Dear Leland and Bonnie,
My boyfriend Philip is waiting for this day for a really long time He wants it to be perfect. For this dream he accepts the long distance from Germany to Fort Lauderdale, the long travel of over 28 hours (jut one way) and the language barrier. We heard from a friend only good and positive things about NBR and decided to come here for surgery by Dr. Garramone, because he's awesome. An artist!"- Anonymous
"Leland, Bonnie and Pups,
Thank you so much for everything Words cannot express my gratitude Everything was so warm and welcoming. Your home is so healing and special. Both you hearts are huge. You both will forever be a huge part of my transition. Thank you thank you thank you. I love your both and will never forget this time. You will see me again you've made a friend for life."- xoxo Eli, Pittsburgh
"Leland & Bonnie,
The thought of taking care of Eli alone, potentially in a cheap rental with tourists, was scary. I am so glad that New Beginnings was an option for us, and that you were so accommodating. It was crazy to meet you both and realize that New Beginnings is not either of your "day jobs" You definitely orchestrated all of the trips to the Dr. and excursions with us beautifully. I appreciated you both opening your home and pool and life to us, and you've made a very difficult journey climax easily. I have to commend you for going through the surgery experience over and over again - it is not an easy thing to do! And you both put us at ease so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you."- Jessie Sue
"Dear Leland, Bonnie, Gidget and Molly,
Liz and I so greatly enjoyed our stay at New Beginnings. We felt like family from the moment we were picked up at the airport. I could not have imagined healing anywhere else You make the experience something to remember and treasure.
If you are ever in the Brooklyn area, definitely look us up! We'll show you the sights."- All the best,
Kris and Liz
"Leland & Bonnie,
Thank you for everything really, I had so much fun getting to know you guys & everyone here! I'm so sad to leave but it won't be for forever! I'll be back to cook for you guyz in no time! Sorry for keeping you guys up at 3am making lasagna LOL. Good luck with the retreat!"- Love, Jesus - Chicago IL
"Leland & Bonnie,
Thanks for everything, you were very kind."- Nathan W , CA
"Leland and Bonnie,
I can't imagine staying anywhere else! I had so much fun hanging out with you and the other guys. This retreat made this huge step in my transition a little bit easier to take. And I know my mother really enjoyed the vacation. Thank you for EVERYTHING and I can't wait until the reunion cruise!"- With Love,
"Dear Leland & Bonnie,
Thank you for making this retreat accessible for all of us transguys who need it. You truly are both a blessing to recover around. our hard work is not overlooked. I appreciate both of you. I hope to continue to work with you on future initiatives & making our community stronger and more inclusive. Leland - you are a special soul that I am very happy to have met. I respect you & hope to be half the man you are one day. I think we could do big things together. Lots of love for you. You're a stud!
Bonnie - not only are you gorgeous, but your positive energy is perfect for the healing process. You make me want to be a better person and more reflective of how I treat others. Thank you for your hard work and kind spirit.
Together you are a strong force. Your success is clearly brought on by good team work and continued effort. Thank you for making this trip exactly what it should be - life changing."- Love from Winnipeg!
"Dear Leland & Bonnie
We would like to thank you for a wonderful stay! We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves...
Thank you for making this part of the journey easier and more accessible. It was such a huge relief to know that we were staying here; it was a weight off of our shoulders.
We thank you for giving us a fun, friendly experience here. :)
You two are both wonderful people. Kindest regards always. Lots of love."- -Hannah & Ollie :) <3 Essex England 10/22/2012
"Leland & Bonnie,
Thank you both for taking all the stress and hassle out of our trip from New Zealand to Florida. It was so reassuring leaving home knowing that we didn't have to think about transport to and from the appointments and the surgery centre.
We've really enjoyed our expeditions to the movies, mall and beach - it was great to get out again after the surgery.
New Beginnings has given us the opportunity to meet others form around the world who are all on the same journey; contacts we will have for life.
We've been entertained by Molly, Gidget, Noah, peacocks, Weecock, Snow White and Ricky raccoon (with his prized chicken carcass)."- Thank you for your hospitality,
Taine and Ali
"Dear Leland and Bonnie,
Prior to coming to New Beginnings, I thought I knew what to expect, having had lots of feedback from my dear friends Lucas and Kyle who were here in January.
I have to say though, that our experience has surpassed all expectations. You have both been nothing less than kind, considerate and helpful throughout our stay. We haven't had many concerns or worries but those that we have had, have been addressed and sorted out promptly.
I have enjoyed my stay very much even though my son has had surgery. It has been like a holiday, shared with some wonderful people who have experienced the same things that we have.
We've laughed, had fun, shopped, visited the cinema 3 times, been to the mall, messed around with the resident mutts and Noah.
It's been fabulous meeting your nephew Matt, who is a great guy, and I have loved meeting the awesome Jaymes Jani Doggett.
The highlight of the whole trip (apart from the reveal - which was fantastic) was watching "The Heat" and laughing to the point of crying at Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in the company of you both, and Jamie also.
I will be eternally grateful for everything. With love and affection to you all,"- Stephanie
"Dear Bonnie and Leland,
Thanks for taking care of my parents while I was recovering! ;-)
In all seriousness though: I've waited until the very last minute to write this, but I still can't seem to find the words that would do the gratitude that I feel in my heart justice.
With "New Beginnings Retreat" you have created a beautiful place to recover and bond during what is one of the most major events in the lives of many trans*guys and you have done a great job of making us feel welcomed into your home, of cheering us up and calming us down when necessary.
As someone who's lucky enough to have a very supportive family and partner, I ca hardly imagine what it must be like to be left alone on this journey. Staying at NBR and meeting guys with a different background and different levels of support from their families gave me a glimpse into what other trans*guys go through.
It also showed me how important your work really is for the trans* community as a whole.
I hope you'll be able to continue your great work - you sure are making an impact on all these guys' lives.
As for my personal experience: Just THANK YOU! I hope we'll stay in touch.- -Vince, Dortmund, Germany
PS: Bonnie, I don't know if you've found the German chocolate yet that Leland told me to hide from you in the kitchen... Anyways - enjoy! ;-)
"Well it's finally post op day, about to head out. This week although it is over was a great landmark in my transition and one I'll never forget. I want to thank everyone @ NBR, everyone who has ever stayed here and everyone who ever will. Leland and Bonnie were great hosts and I can't thank them enough for opening up their home to create a safe place for everyone who needs/wants it. Time to go meet my NEW NIPPLES!"- Scott
“I love what you are doing to help people. What a rewarding thing to do, making people feel whole and making it possible for everyone to recover from surgery in a positive loving environment. I applaud you. I am grateful, I am proud to know you and so happy that this has become a reality for you and everyone you help.”- Terri Goldstein, NY
“Thank you both for being there at the beginning of my journey. I will cherish this for the rest of my life.”- Nick
“Dear Leland & Bonnie,
We would like to thank you for a wonderful stay! We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Thank you for making this part of the journey easier and more accessible. It was such a huge relief to know that we were staying here; it was a weight off of our shoulders. We thank you for giving us a fun, friendly experience here :) You two are both wonderful people."- Kindest Regards always, lots of love,
Hannah & Ollie
“Each of you is here because of a journey. That journey is different for everyone. In the end it’s all about self-discovery and becoming the person you were mean to be. It doesn’t matter if you’re the one having the surgery or not. This is still a time to be embraces and experienced completely. When you leave just make sure that the light you possess inside you shines at least a little bit brighter. You are meant to be!"- Brightest Blessings,
“Leland and Bonnie,
I can’t imagine staying anywhere else! I had so much fun hanging out with you and the other guys. This retreat made this huge step in my transition a little bit easier to take And I know my mother really enjoyed the vacation. Thank you for EVERYTHING and I can’t wait until the reunion cruise!!!"- With Love,
“Dear Leland and Bonnie,
The New Beginnings Retreat is a sanctuary. Thank you both for looking after Nik with loving care and making this new journey so easy and pleasant. Keep up the excellent work!”- Hamish
“What a terrific place! Thank you for being just wonderful people and having the foresight for the needs for a facility for these young people. Positive energy will always be sent your way.”- Denise
“Great way to start the new beginning. So glad Dani made lifetime friends. I wish you both the best of luck with this endeavor. I can’t imagine being anywhere else during this transition. Thanks for the hospitality.”- Anonymous
“Dear Leland & Bonnie,
Thank you for welcoming us & letting us be a part of an amazing place. This took me and the journey of transformation to a new level. The friends I met here, I hope to keep in contact with My advice to new people entering the doors of this home is lay your baggage own, even emotional baggage. This is about you, this is your time, you were brought here for a reason. Take peace in that, and remember what really lies within your shell."
'What lies before you & what lies behind you is nothing compared to what lies within’ – Emerson- Johnny Sparrow
"Dear Leland & Bonnie,
While I am rarely at a loss for words, the amount of relief & gratefulness I have for you two & for this place is incomparable even to a dictionary. For so long we’ve been on our own to arrange everything for ourselves, the fact that you both were so willing to assist & accommodate both of us is something we will never forget. This life altering journey that I’ve finally completed wouldn’t have been so stress free without you two. We loved our week here and we will never forget you Much love & the deepest heartfelt of thanks."- Reese & Sue
"Leland & Bonnie,
Thank you guys for everything you have done for us! New Beginnings was a total life saver and amazing opportunity! It may have been a short wait but it felt like a lifetime. You guys are very close and dear in my heart! I hope everything with New Beginnings flourishes, because this experience is one in a lifetime and I truly believe everyone should know it! You two are amazing in every aspect! I wish you all well! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for Kendrix! It and you mean the world to us!”- Echo Marie
I've spent the majority of my transition alone, without a sense of community. When I went to therapy to get my letter for hormones, I was alone. When I went to the doctor to get on hormones, I was alone. For 3.5 years, I've made this journey alone. I wanted to have surgery in South Florida, because I'd heard of New Beginnings Retreat, and everything I read said it was the best place to stay when recovering from surgery.
I started researching surgeons, alone. I considered Dr. Garramone and Dr. Alexander, both capable surgeons, but ultimately settled on Dr. Russell Sassani. I'd heard his name from Leland, and had talked to a couple guys who recently had surgery with him, to come to the conclusion that he was the best surgeon for me. Dr. Sassani was very personable, and made me feel 100% comfortable with his abilities as a surgeon. He also asked questions like, how did I want my scars, curved, straight, a combination of the two?
When I arrived at New Beginnings, alone, I started talking to the people who were already there, and in various stages of recovery from top surgery, or, like myself, going in for surgery the next day. I started to feel at ease, and started to feel something I hadn't ever felt before, a sense of community. Within mere minutes of arriving at New Beginnings Retreat, I felt that I was a part of something bigger, a community. I hesitate to say brotherhood, because we all identify differently, so I'll just say fellowship.
While at New Beginnings, I made life long friends with people who I'm happy to call my brothers, my fellows, as well as their partners and parents. I felt as though I finally belonged somewhere.
I've stayed in touch with my brothers/fellows at NBR, as well as with Leland and Bonnie, since my stay at NBR.
Leland and Bonnie, thank you so much for all that you do! You two are an amazing team, and are doing so much good for those of us having surgery in South Florida. Thank you, thank you, thank you--I could write it a million times and it wouldn't even scratch the surface of the gratitude I feel. Keep up the good work! You are making a difference!!-D- Anonymous