I’m So Glad I Made It This Far

By December 18, 2015 Cadets Corner

View More Photos, Events, and Activities here South Carolina Youth Challenge Facebook

If I met a kid who dropped out of high school and did not know what to do with his life, the first thing I would do is recommend South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy.

Cadet Chavez

Cadet Chavez, A : Cycle 35- Ring Ceremony

This program is one of the most life changing things I have ever been in. The first time I saw my mother after being enrolled in South Carolina Youth Challenge, she said she did not see a trouble making teen instead she saw a young man. I don’t think I have ever been that proud in my life, when my mom told me that. I’m also glad I made it this far because if I would not have made it this far. I would be six feet deep.

I grew up in a single parent home. What threw my life off track was that I was the kid that loved trouble. I was what the court system called a statistic. One of the big problems I had was that I had to be the center of attention and that got me the wrong attention. I ended up get arrested 9 times in a 2 year span. I definitely got the attention but the wrong attention and from the wrong people.

So I started to change my life but I only changed for about 10 months before I got in trouble again. This time, other people were involved with me getting in trouble. I was in a stolen car with a friend and he ended up wrecking into another car head-on. We almost took the lives of 2 other people. But the trouble did not stop there, I ended up getting in trouble two more times. I decide the criminal life was not for me because I kept getting caught.

I found out about Youth Challenge through my probation officer. I looked Youth Challenge Academy up so I could learn a little bit more about it because at first, I did not like the idea of being at a place for 5 months with complete strangers. What got me really interested in Youth Challenge Academy is how much my mother was looking in to it. So I started to think if my mom wants me to go maybe this is the best for me, so I signed up and I came here.

South Carolina Youth Challenge has done an amazing amount of things for me. The number one thing is organization. When I was at home my room was a mess. You could not find a bright neon sign flashing in the mess. So when I got here I thought I could do what I wanted. The sergeants helped me change that. I also had a problem with lying to try and get out of trouble. Sometimes it worked! When I got here I tried to do it but the sergeants caught on to it. I learned quickly that I have to break that habit. I also learned that the sergeants are here as a life coach. They are here to break you down and build you up into a better person. It’s all about tough love here with the sergeants. They also give you life lessons that will help you get out of the court system, help you go further in life, and help you achieve your goals.

I also learned another important life trait called responsibility. I never knew how important responsibility was until I started to learn the trait. Discipline is also another major life skill that Youth Challenge Academy has taught me. Without discipline you basically have no self-control or manners. If you go to a job interview and you walk in with your pants sagging and looking some type of way, do you think they will hire you? No, because you have no discipline or self-respect.

Also, South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy helps you in every single way possible to obtain your GED. They have GED books in the dorm, they have teachers to help you, and they give tutoring if you still don’t understand it. The only way you won’t obtain your GED is if you don’t try. They offer so many certifications like driver’s education (if you have your permit), 3D printing, and forklift. They also have sports teams to help you have even more fun while you are here. They also give you so many things to help you get your dream job.

South Carolina Youth Challenge also has a new program called Post Challenge where they send you to college for free! If you don’t like free college then there is something wrong. But to do any of these things you have to have good behavior. Everything you do here is based on your behavior and attitude.

I’ll probably look back in 20 or 30 years and think I’m glad I came to this program and completed it. I personally believe that every male and female that has dropped out of high school and if they are on a path to nowhere in their life need to come to South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy. When you leave here, you will look back at yourself and think, why I did I ever do some of the stupid things I did. I’m glad I changed and if I could go back and do it again and I would not change a thing about my stay at South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy. I also thank my mom and god for putting the staff in my life to keep me out of jail and out of the grave. – Cadet Chavez, A; Cycle 35 (3rd Platoon)

View More Photos, Events, and Activities here South Carolina Youth Challenge Facebook


Published By: Marissa Vannall