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Coffee County Program for At-Risk Teens Needs More Money

Coffee County Program for At-Risk Teens Needs More Money

CREATED Mar 10, 2014 - UPDATED: Mar 11, 2014

By Jason Lamb

MANCHESTER, Tenn. – A mid-state program supporting at-risk teens is looking to expand, but organizers say it needs more money. 

The program is called "Recovery Academy," based out of Coffee County.  It was started with the help of a judge who says he's seen too many teens come into his courtroom that are at risk of dropping out of school.  While the judge, Tim Brock, says he's got plenty more candidates for the program, there's no space for them.

Currently, the home base for Recovery Academy is a former kitchen and storage room inside the Coffee County Drug Court office.  Students complete coursework on computers inside the office using an online home-school service. Right now the program serves about half a dozen kids whose only other option would likely be getting turned over to the Department of Children's Services. 

The program director, who works with Brock in referring new students to the program say they're looking for additional grant money so the program can expand into a larger nearby building, hire a learning coach, and serve up to 15 students at a time.

"I think our entire community celebrates when someone gets their diploma and overcomes obstacles to become the best possible citizen they can," said Mike Lewis, the Recovery Academy director.

Brock says he had three cases just last week where he wanted to refer students to Recovery Academy, but because the program was maxed out with about 6 students, those kids had to be turned away.

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