Secretary of State
Secretary Grimes Advocates for National Guard Academy Assisting Kentucky Youth
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes today met
staff and cadets at the Appalachian ChalleNGe
Academy in Harlan, which uses quasi-military principles to improve life skills,
education levels, and employability in 16-to-18-year-olds who have dropped out
or are at risk of dropping out of school. The Academy is part of the National
Guard Youth ChalleNGe program and is
one of two such programs in Kentucky.
“We have a need for the ChalleNGe Academy, and it is critical to ensuring that the least, last
and lost among our youth are supported,” said Grimes. “I believe it is vital to
our Commonwealth’s future that our youth are prepared to be good citizens of
Grimes traveled to Harlan with Brigadier General
Charles T. Jones to see firsthand how the Academy is transforming the lives of
Kentucky youths. She met with members of the 7th class of the
Academy, which is comprised of 134 cadets. The cadets have completed one month
of a five-month residential phase, which will be followed by a year-long
“I saw firsthand today the amazing work the ChalleNGe Academy is doing,” said Grimes. “I
applaud the Kentucky National Guard for giving a lift to young Kentuckians who
otherwise might slip through the cracks, and I’m glad to be an advocate for
this outstanding program.”
In Kentucky, approximately 400 students complete the
Academy each year. The program helps students obtain their GEDs or recover
credits and graduate from high school. The Academy’s success stories include
students who have gone on to become a neurosurgeon, professional football
player, and standout military officer trainee.
Grimes, as chief advocate for civic engagement, is
passionate about empowering Kentucky’s youth and encouraging them to be
engaged. Early in 2012, Grimes released Kentucky’s first-ever Civic Health Index, which uses U.S. Census data to measure civic participation in a variety
of areas, including voter registration and community involvement. Later that year
and into 2013, Grimes conducted a statewide series of 15 roundtable discussions
to create new partnerships and explore best practices for improving civic
health in the Commonwealth.
Grimes also sponsors annual essay and slogan contests to involve young Kentuckians in the election
process. She has been an advocate for youth in Frankfort, such as the Pritchard
Committee Student Voice Team, and has helped the Kentucky Boys and Girls State
programs with their elections each year. Grimes regularly visits schools and
welcomes students of all ages to her office and encourages them to pursue their
ambitions and be active in their communities.
For more information about the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy, visit acaharlan.org.
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