Last updated: June 24. 2014 3:19PM - 632 Views
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FRANKFORT — The Kentucky National Guard Youth Challenge program is accepting applications for fall classes, which begin on July 13.


Jointly funded between the federal government and the commonwealth of Kentucky, and sponsored by the Kentucky National Guard, Youth ChalleNGe is designed to help youth, ages 16-18, get a jump start on life.


The 22-week curriculum covers extensive academic studies geared toward completing a high school diploma as well as physical fitness, leadership and community awareness projects. The program has been around for nearly 20 years. More than 100,000 cadets have graduated from the program nation-wide.


Basic qualifications for admission include:


* Applicants must be between the ages of 16-18 on class start date (July 13, 2014)


* Free of illegal drugs


* A high school student failing to progress toward completion or a high school dropout who has not received a secondary school diploma, GED certificate, or equivalent from another program


* Mentally and physically capable to participate


* Not under indictment or convicted of a felony offense


The program is 100 percent free for qualified applicants.


There are currently two Youth ChalleNGe academies in Kentucky — the Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy is located at Fort Knox while Harlan is home to the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy.


“We’ve seen some dramatic changes in the young men and women that have come through our front door,” said Josh Coldiron, director of the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Harlan. “They often come from situations that would break your heart. All they need is a little structure and encouragement to make a positive difference in their lives.”


“If you are the parent of a young person who is in need or you know someone you think needs help, this program just may be the answer,” said Coldiron.


With fall classes beginning July 13 the deadline is fast approaching.


To find out more about the Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy at Fort Knox call 1-877-599-6884 or email dorothy.m.heffelfinger.nfg@mail.mil.


To find out more about the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Harlan call 1-855-596-4927 or email melinda.f.dillman.nfg@mail.mil.

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