HARRISBURG – An initiative designed to help at-risk youth in the Commonwealth is now law, according to Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York), prime sponsor of the measure. House Bill 824
, now Act 51 of 2018, creates the National Guard Youth Challenge Program in Pennsylvania.
This dropout recovery program helps at-risk youth earn a high school diploma or its equivalent, preparing them to move on to higher education, employment or military service. The program, which currently operates in more than two dozen states, will operate under the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).
“Too many young people get left behind because of one bad decision. The goal of this program is to give them structure to prepare them for a brighter future. This program has a track record of success in other states, and it is important that Pennsylvania provide the best opportunities to our children,” said Saylor. “The Pennsylvania National Guard exemplifies the best we have in Pennsylvania. It has taken a lot of hard work to get this legislation across the finish line, but I want to especially thank the National Guard for being supportive of this program and for realizing the importance of helping our at-risk youth.”
“The National Guard Youth Challenge Program offers at-risk youth the opportunity to change their future through self-discipline, leadership and responsibility – something our National Guard members learn from their first day in uniform,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA. “The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania National Guard are excited to work collaboratively with other state agencies to lead, train and mentor these young men and women so that they make positive changes to brighten their futures in our communities as they transition into adulthood.”
The National Guard established the National Guard Youth Challenge Program in 1933 to help young men and women who may struggle to complete an educational program in a traditional high school. To that end, the program seeks to improve participants’ life skills and employment potential by providing military-based training and supervised work experience, together with the core program components of assisting participants to receive a high school diploma or its equivalent, leadership development, promoting fellowship and community service, developing life coping skills and job skills, and improving physical fitness, health and hygiene. The program currently operates in 27 states and in Puerto Rico.
Representative Stan Saylor
94th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: John O’Brien