Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pierce Youth Challenge program gets go ahead from State

The co-ed boot-camp style program to be implemented at the former Pierce Elementary School located on 21 1/2 acres in rural Idaho is expected to bring 50 or more jobs to Pierce and targets at risk youth who are unemployed, drug free, dropouts between the ages of 16 and 18.

A delegation of around 15 persons from Pierce and Clearwater County Commissioner Chairman Don Ebert will be on hand Wednesday when Gov. Butch Otter signs the bill allowing the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program to be held at the former Pierce Elementary School which was closed by the school district in 2007.

Legislation for the program passed its final legislation last week allowing the National Guards to use the old Pierce school to set up a 22-week residential program followed by a year of mentoring with volunteers, often Guard members, from their former communities.

The program focuses on academics and life coping skills. There are Youth ChalleNGe programs in 27 states and Puerto Rico. The program has a success rate exceeding 90%.

Major General Gary Sayler, Idaho adjutant general, wants to launch the Pierce project in July 2012 with a class of about 120 students. To get there he needs to come up with about $300,000 in private donations.

The school needs an administrator and marketers to get the students in the door. The program needs some temporary trailers as dormitory space until it has money to build housing. Cell phones or texting will not be allowed. Visits with parents will be limited.

National Guard personnel said the building is in such good shape it means just going in and turning on the lights. The building needs updates in the wiring for modern technology.

If the program fails the school goes back to the school district.

“We are fairly comfortable the money is there between the federal input and donation from the Albertson Foundation” said Col. Tim Marsano, spokesman for the National Guard.

After the first year the Guard needs $900,000 to keep it going. The Albertson Foundation has offered half of that amount for the program’s first four years.

The legislative bill states that the governor and legislature can discontinue the program if money isn’t available.

Website address is hhtp://

No comments:

Post a Comment