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Second chances are hard to come by. While the National Guard recognizes that, they provide a second chance to at risk youth and offer a program that allows them to earn a GED or high school diploma while working on bettering their lives. This summer, the ChalleNge program will graduate its 100,000th student.
“It’s an important milestone just because it’s 100,000 kids … who were given a second chance to get their life back on track,” said Joe Padilla, the program manager for the ChalleNGe program at the National Guard Bureau. “So, you’ve got 100,000 people there who are now doing well and being productive citizens back in their communities or serving in the military or doing all kinds of great things they weren’t doing prior.”
When it comes to educational opportunities for at risk youth, the military isn’t necessarily the first entity that comes to mind as far as empowering youth and giving that second chance. This is the kind surprise good news that should be more readily available. The National Guard has done an incredible amount of work not only with the ChalleNge program but the Patriot Academy as well.
Youth coming into these programs are not used to experiencing success, especially in the academic arena. Through these programs they are given the most important tool to succeed in the future and that is a chance for an education.