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GCSO's Teen Success Academy sees success spreading positivity to at-risk youth

Posted at 5:42 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 17:42:01-04

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — It's all about teen crime prevention for the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office.

GCSO says their Teen Success Academy program has seen positive progress in just three years.

"The experience I've had so far is amazing and it definitely has changed my life," said Trinity Howard.

Howard is in the 6th grade at Shanks Middle School.

She says she joined the Teen Success Academy because "I used to think more negative and think I couldn't do it and I would just give up," Howard said.

That thinking is what the program is trying to change, with teens ending up in trouble, bullying, or suffering emotionally because of it.

The director of the program, Nicky Collins, said they cater to more than 80 children.

"A lot of our kids have anger issues. A lot of them have actually been in gangs. We want to make sure we prevent any further gang violence," said Collins.

They're doing it by spreading positivity.

"The life coaches lead us to be positive in different ways," said De'Anthony Walker.

Walker, an 8th grader at Shanks says they host workshops like "Be A Better Me" encouraging them to do the right thing.

Leaders believe that positive impact is working.

"Sometimes we don't even have to go to them. They'll come to us and say this is what we need help in," said Collins.

Hoping that relationship will keep teens on the straight and narrow.

"It's been amazing sharing the time that I've been with them and getting to know them and letting them know me," said Howard.