Some turn to a life of crime and drug abuse, but as there is a program aimed at helping at-risk youth become successful.
Joseph Alvarez enjoys repairing his beloved Volkswagen Bug, but just a few months ago, his relationship with his family was in dire need of repair.
"I just pretty much dropped out of school, started using drugs and I just want to get clean of it,” shares Alvarez.
Alvarez's antics were too much to bear, so his parents sought help from the Florida Youth Challenge Academy, a military-oriented program designed to help at-risk kids get on the right path, while earning a high school diploma or GED.
"Kids will know this is the last opportunity for them to get an education before they get involved in the juvenile justice system, so by taking away some of those distractions, it has impacted a lot of those kids,” explains Hwathrone Herbert, Admissions Director.
The program has had a positive impact on Alvarez, who's now a model son at home, a far cry from his earlier days.
"We knew they would keep a hold on him, Joseph always needed that discipline, and as long as he had someone over him, he did well,” says mother Mia Alvarez.
In fact, Alvarez is one of 115 teens who graduated from this five-month rigorous program.
Now he's on the path to a bright future, in the military.
The program has been rated the most successful for at-risk youths in the United States, graduating nearly 53,000 students since 1993.
If you'd like more information about the program, call toll free at 1-866-276-9304, or visit their Web site: www.ngycp.org/state/fl