The Kentucky National Guard Youth Challenge program has extended its recruiting date until July 18 for Class 007 of the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy. Designed to help youth ages 16-18 get a jump start on life, the program is jointly funded between the federal government and the commonwealth of Kentucky. The program is sponsored by the Kentucky National Guard.
“We’ve seen some dramatic changes in the young men and women that have come through our front door,” said Josh Coldiron, director of the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Harlan. “They often come from situations that would break your heart. All they need is a little structure and encouragement to make a positive difference in their lives.”
The 22-week curriculum covers extensive academic studies geared toward completing a high school diploma as well as physical fitness, leadership and community awareness projects. The program has been around for nearly 20 years. More than 100,000 cadets have graduated from the program nation-wide.
“If you are the parent of a young person who is in need or you know someone you think needs help, this program just may be the answer,” said Coldiron.
Basic qualifications for admission include:
• Applicants must be between the ages of 16-18 on arrival.
• Free of illegal drugs.
• A high school student failing to progress toward completion or a high school dropout who has not received a secondary school diploma, GED certificate, or equivalent from another program.
• Mentally and physically capable to participate.
• Not under indictment or convicted of a felony offense.
The program is 100 percent free for qualified applicants.
There are currently two youth challenge academies in Kentucky. The Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy is located at Fort Knox while Harlan is home to the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy.
For more information about the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Harlan, call 855-596-4927.