Canyon ISD and Youth Center team up to rehabilitate students

The Youth Center of the High Plains and the Canyon Independent School District have a long standing relationship of educating and rehabilitating our youth. They have a system in place that explains how they're doing it in a proven, effective manner.

At first glance the Center looks like a typical place troubled youth go. But once you get a good look around, you notice a creative environment. One for learning, expressing feelings, and a more residential dorm atmosphere.

"When they go to court the judge says ok you're being termed to the program out there. So they have to work through the program out here in order to phase up. You take that shrout off of them that they've done something wrong and you just look at them as a kid there are some really neat kids. They're bright," said Youth Center Principal, Shawn Neeley.

"We base our program on a couple of different concepts. The first one is individual responsibility. We believe in teaching young people responsibility. Our program is an earned vs. non-earn we use a token economy," said Assistant Chief Youth Probation Officer, Neil L. Eddins.

Giving the kids an opportunity to earn privileges like eating candy, wearing normal clothes, to staying up late. The school environment is close to a normal school setting.

"The school we are helping them think we're teaching them the things that they need to know, we're helping them know how to think and utilize their education skills so they can take that and they can apply hopefully to their program," said Neeley.

The teachers also help by keeping a positive attitude.

"To me it helps me stay positive and I feel like these kids need positive. I always put quotations up that are inspirational to me or the literature in a sense," said English Teacher, Angela Stephens.

"They've never had a solid or effective adult role model relationship in their life for whatever reason," said Eddins.

Once the students go through the program and petition to be released, Neeley says they're able to make an easy transition back to a normal school setting.

The Youth Center of the High Plains program has been so successful it's now been replicated in several different jurisdictions across the United States.