(WHTM) — A few months ago, abc27 covered the first class that graduated from the Keystone State Challenge Academy (KSCA). On Wednesday, March 15, abc27 got a first-hand look at how Pennsylvania teens spend their time in the program, which is designed to steer them onto the right track.
“To work with kids that that need a second chance a little bit of a reset I mean it’s an honor to be here truly is a blessing,” said Leonardo Gonzales, a cadet.
The program improves the lives of at-risk teens that live in Pennsylvania. For 22 weeks cadets are on a set schedule where they learn in classrooms, achieve self-discipline, access educational resources, and get a place to sleep.
“I could think of three or four or five or sometimes ten kids in some of my school districts that could have benefited from a program like that. We didn’t have when I was in education,” said Steve Grossman, director of the Keystone State Challenge Academy.
In January 2023, 125 cadets joined the KSCA, marking the second class to go through the program, and with KSCA in 40 other states, it won’t be the last.
“I noticed I am growing as a person like becoming better than I was before,” said Gonzales.
Cadets wake up every day at 6 a.m. and follow a set schedule of activities. There are no cell phones, TV, or access to the rest of the world.
For some, adjusting is difficult.
“People that come here, they, like, want to be here, some people. But other people will take a little longer for them to realize like they need this program,” said Gonzales.
There are 12 weeks left in the current program, and applications will open soon for the next set of cadets.
“If they want to make a change give us an because it, we see amazing things from our kids,” said Grossman.