Florida Youth Program to Graduate 158 Teens Saturday | Community Spirit

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Florida Youth Program to Graduate 158 Teens Saturday
Florida Youth Program to Graduate 158 Teens Saturday

Florida’s Youth ChalleNGe Academy is run by the Florida Department of Military Affairs and the Florida National Guard. Designed on a military model, 16- to 19-year-old high school dropouts encounter a rigorous five-and-a-half month residential phase.  These teens are given a second chance to earn a high school diploma, but this is the first class in which the Academy has partnered with St. Johns River Community College to offer college credits to the students.

The Academy is aimed at promoting adult responsibility, values and basic lifestyle changes. Each youth experiences a demanding, highly regimented, motivational climate covering the components of academic excellence, community service, job skills, leadership and physical fitness.  “FLYCA prepares cadets for the future by giving them tough love,” said Master Sergeant Akika Gavin, Shift Supervisor. “A sense of pride, self discipline, and motivation are instilled into them so that they may use those attributes to maintain a healthy positive life as a productive citizen in the community.”

Since Florida’s program began in 2001, 2,420 cadets from 57 counties have graduated from the residential phase of the program. Upon graduation from the in-residence phase, each student is assigned a mentor who provides personal guidance and support.  In order to successfully complete the program, all students are required to either pursue higher education or gain full-time employment. For additional information contact the academy at (904) 682-4000 or visit www.ngycp.org/FL.

Graduating cadets are from the following counties: Alachua (6); Baker (3);Bay (1); Bradford (1);  Brevard (3); Broward (7); Clay (16); Collier (1); Columbia (2);  Duval (47); Escambia (1); Flagler (1); Gilchrist (3); Hamilton (1); Hernando (1); Highlands (1); Hillsborough (4); Indian River (1); Lake (2); Lee (2); Leon (2); Marion (3); Martin (1); Miami-Dade (9); Monroe (1);  Okaloosa (1); Orange (5); Palm Beach (7); Pasco (2); Pinellas (1);  Polk (5); Putnam (1); Sarasota (1); Seminole (1); St. Johns (6); St. Lucie (1);  Sumter (1); Suwannee (1); and Volusia (5).

Guest speaker for Saturday’s event is George H. Sheldon, Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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