A community “Welcome House” will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 18 at the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy located at Grays Knob.
The event is open to all Harlan County residents and officials.
“During the event you will have the opportunity to meet and talk with the academy director and staff,” said Academic Instructor Crystal Mitchell. “You will also learn how the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program works to intervene in and reclaim the lives of at-risk youth by transforming their values and enhancing their skills, education and self-discipline.”
Mitchell said the Youth ChalleNGe Program was established in 1993 with 10 pilot programs. The program has since established itself as an effective intervention in the lives of program graduates.
The newest facility, located here in Harlan County, opened its doors June 2012 to extend this opportunity to eastern Kentucky youth.
“The Academy has the resources to work with at-risk youth, people ages 16 to 18, male and female, and provide them with a learning environment that facilitates different learning styles,” said Mitchell. “The mission of the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy is to train and mentor selected at-risk youth to become contributing members of society. The eight Core Components in a quasi-military environment, during a 22-week residential and one-year follow up program does this.”
Quasi-military is a term used to describe a program that resembles military training such as attention to detail, respect, self-discipline and chain of command.
“We can also address the needs of students who may be potential dropouts due to failing grades or behavior problems in the classroom,” said Mitchell. “We’re very excited about hosting this event and welcoming our community to the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy.
“There are many people in our community who, when asked about the academy, don’t know how to respond or have never heard about the program. We hope by hosting this ‘Welcome House’ we’ll give our community some perspective into what an amazing program Harlan County was selected to house.”
Director Josh Coldiron said, “With this program our community, not just academy staff, has the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of so many of our eastern Kentucky youth. We hope you will come join us for our first annual ‘Welcome House.’ Come out and mingle with community members, enjoy the hospitality room, speak with academy staff, take a tour with cadets and find out how you can help make a positive difference in the life of our youth.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, firstname.lastname@example.org