Teens celebrate completion of Fulton County Clubhouse for Youth program
ATLANTA - Three Fulton County teens are celebrating the completion of the Fulton County Clubhouse for Youth program.
The county celebrated 15-year-old Tre’Shon Wilson, 15-year-old Michael Bridges, and 18-year-old Jack Quechol's graduation from the program with a virtual ceremony Tuesday evening.
The program is under the county's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and helps teenagers who are struggling with behavioral problems or substance abuse.
Quechol says he found himself lost in a world of substance abuse at the age of 15.
"Alternative school, court dates. It was pretty chaotic. I didn't really have any motivation. I didn't really have any goals," Quechol said.
He says the program has helped him become a better version of himself and has helped him find direction in his life.
"The program is really a godsend because a lot of our youths come from the department of juvenile justice or come through the courts' system, Atlanta public schools of DFCS. A lot of these kids are in danger of falling through the cracks," said Michael Jones, a counselor, and social worker.
This yearlong program is limited but county officials say there are other resources available.
These resources are becoming even more important as teens spend more time at home due to the coronavirus.
"We've assigned therapists to designated schools, we have a text for help program where students can send a text to one of our licensed clinicians and someone will respond within 90 seconds," said LaTrina Foster, the director of Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.
Quechol hopes his peers take advantage of the help that's out there but understands how difficult that can be.
"I think a lot of people are just too scared to say they need help," he said.
He didn't realize it at the time, but the first day in the Fulton County Clubhouse for Youth program marked a turning point in his life.
"This was our second chance. You know, once you reach a certain age, they won't give you a second chance. It's very rare for them to do that. You've just got to prove to them that you're not a bad person," Quechol said.
Jack is a senior in high school now and he says he plans on joining the US Air force when he graduates.
You can find more information about the program here.