By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian
Giving kids a new start in life is how Academy Programs helps young people cope with bad decisions.
Academy Programs works with the West Virginia Department of Education to put troubled kids between the ages of 12 and 18 on the right path.
The YORE Academy, which is within Academy Programs, serves kids dealing with substance abuse and teaches them coping skills that help them stay substance free.
While students are at Academy Programs and the YORE Academy, they attend school at the same time.
Dr. Ron Pearse, co-owner of Academy Programs, said when students enter the program, depending on their individual situation, counselors sit down with them and create a treatment plan.
“Education is an important part of the treatment,” Pearse said. “They have to achieve certain things on the behavior side but also in education in order to advance.”
Pearse said there is a misconception with the program and many think it is a correctional facility, but it’s not — it’s a treatment program.
“In most cases, these kids have been involved in court and it’s obvious that that didn’t work,” he said. “The court then says, ‘Now we think you need treatment’ and that’s the key word.”
Steve Fairley, executive director of Academy Programs, said his staff works with the kids throughout the day and every evening.
“We basically teach them how to cope with life and better decision making,” he said. “Our goal ultimately is to turn them into good students so that they become good citizens.”