Program Making A Difference For At-Risk Youth In Georgia School District

A young student who was expelled from school and involved in criminal activity has turned his life around, thanks to a program offered by the Marietta City School district in Georgia.

According to Channel 2 News, “Juan Linares was 15-years-old when he was charged with a felony.”

“I had a probation officer. I was on house arrest. I guess I was hanging around the wrong people. It’s not like they were bad bad … like committing crimes,” Linares told Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell.

Linares decided he needed to change the path he was on and enrolled in the Marietta Alternative Placement School.

“After I got expelled I would hang out with them on the weekends, but once I started doing the dual enrollment I stopped hanging with all the people that I talked to in high school and just had two friends,” said Linares, according to the report.

“I surrounded myself with people that had goals. I know if I get locked up my mom is not going to want to see me in jail. I think about my nieces and nephews, like what example am I putting to them?” said Linares

“I turned something bad into good and that’s what I like. I really want to be an entrepreneur. I want to have my own mechanic shop,” he added.

“Linares is closer to fulfilling his dreams. He graduated from the MAPS program and credits the program’s coordinator [Farhat Ahmad] for much of his success,” Channel 2 News reported. “Farhat Ahmad is more like family to his students and believes that building long-lasting relationships is the key to their success.”

“I always tell Farhat that I want to be really successful and he’ll always tell me just keep doing what I’m doing,” said Linares.

Ahmad explained the key to helping young people in difficult situations.

“With at-risk youth, regular school already failed them. Structure already failed them. I got rid of class schedules. I got rid of everything traditional about school,” said Ahmad.

D & B Staff

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