Program for troubled youths

August 21, 2008 2:46:17 PM PDT
When young people get in trouble there aren't a lot of options out there to help them turn their lives around, but there is a unique program in New York giving them a chance to get their life back together and get a second chance. Learning to keep a budget is good for any student, but for some, it's a motivational tool.

"I felt like they would never help and stuff, but actually, they really did," said Javon Jules.

Javon and some 40 other young people are taught in various programs of the Center for Community Alternatives. On average, they are between 12 and 15-years-old. The alternative for some of them, is being held in jail, since all have been arrested.

"At the age that they are, we have the greatest chance to make an impact," said Max Lindeman.

Some have already spent time behind bars and were ordered to the alternative program by the courts.

"I don't want you to just complete high school, I want you to know that higher education, college and beyond, is an option to you," Project Director, Tiffany Sheriod tells the kids.

The program backs that up with tutoring sessions, creative activities like painting a mural, and they get boxing lessons.

The boxing is obviously a stress reliever, not to mention good exercise, but it could also be seen as a symbol for the program, which gives the young people an opportunity to fight for their future.

Program administrators say 65 percent of kinds in their year-long program are able to say out of trouble. The shorter programs do not have such good results, but any involvement is thought to be better than the alternative.

STORY BY: Eyewitness News education reporter Art McFarland

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