I am Abelardo Parra Mercado's sponsor, class #55, and I would like to express my my most sincere gratitude and share with you a situation that took place on the 9th of October this year, if not for Abelardo, I would have lost my youngest granddaughter.
On the 9th of October 2018, my son in law put my granddaughter in a high chair at the table and gave her a snack, then told Abelardo and another teenager there he was leaving for a few minutes and asked them to watch the two little ones. Within minutes of my son in law leaving, Abelardo, being outside, heard a noise that was unusual, when he went into the kitchen he found my granddaughter turning blue and making horrible gurgling noises. He realized instantly that she had a small piece of food stuck in her throat and immediately went into reaction mode, without thinking he applied life saving first aid techniques. He attempted to clear the airway and when that didn't work he forced her to vomit while the other teen did nothing. It worked and she started breathing again, she was taken to the emergency room and is okay and is home now. When my daughter asked him later how did he know to do that he responded with "it was what I was taught at OYCP". I cannot thank you and the OYCP staff enough for what you all do for these young men and women who has lost their path and wish to find it again. Because of Abelardo's quick thinking and training, he saved my 2 year old granddaughter from choking to death. This is a true testament to the hard work and devotion you and the entire staff give these young men and women, as well as the passion that you and the staff of OYCP have for giving these young men and women the best opportunity to become successful in their lives. I cannot express my gratitude enough for the professionalism, caring and exceptional leadership you provide and the impact it has had on Cadet Parra Mercado. Once again Thank you!
"The Youth Challenge Program had given me the opportunity to graduate from high school with my class. I now have my own apartment and a job."
My name is Brandon Anglin. I went to OYCP back when I was 16 years old in 2008 . I was failing out of school and was a problem child. OYCP changed my life for the better. I learned how to control myself and my anger. Because of PYCP I was able to graduate with my class 2 years later with the credits I made up in OYCP. After high school I didn't really know what to do with my life. So I thought back on what I had learned in life and remembered OYCP. I had loved the structured life there and thought of joining the military. I joined the Army and was in for seven years and did three tours over seas. After that I was medically retired and am still using to this day nine years later the life skills that I learned at OYCP. I'm now a correctional officer in Pendleton Oregon at E.O.C.I. Without OYCP I don't know where life would have taken me. Thank you to all the cadre that helped me through life.
The reason I came to the Oregon Youth Challenge Program was to get away from everyone. I had a bad habit of doing drugs and skipping school. So, when I found out about OYCP, I was not too stoked. My grandma told me that she would like me to go, but that she would never force me to do anything I did not want to do. In the end, I decided to come to OYCP because I wanted to make the right choice for once in my life.
"Before I came here I was in a lot of trouble. I suffered from depression and a lack of self-esteem. I saw myself being influenced to walk down a road I didn't like. I decided to make a positive change in my life, but change isn't easy. This program makes this change possible. The major thing that makes this program great is the staff. The fact that the staff here actually cares, gives them the power to help us in our lives especially because many of them have been in our shoes before. I would like to give my utmost thanks and respect to all of the staff here. Another positive thing about this program is the educational system. The teachers are the foundation of the system for they always have the time to help us individually. The fact that every teacher gets to know us, helps them teach us on a level that we can understand. I would also like to thank them as well. The work system here works hand in hand with the educational system. For we are learning from it as well. The job skills we gain here are invaluable to our future, considering how hard it is to get a job without experience. This program will make it easier to make it out there lawfully rather than through crime to survive. Also the discipline we learn to do jobs that we don't like is a major improvement, for not all jobs out there are fun. One of my main problems as a young adult is the indecision about my future. In the process of this program I have found a clarity in my life that I have never experienced before. I have had a lot of help in the process of finding a purpose to work for my life. Career counseling, Guest Speakers, and the work I have done, have all helped me in my decision. Now I have something I can work to, rather than just shuffling life along and waiting for something to happen. I am now going to go out and grab it!!
First of all I have to say OYCP is a great program, I was in the graduation class of 32. I remember week one thinking how am I going to survive 22 weeks of this. Well I got some good and bad news, it is not just 22 weeks. The things you learn from this program will be with you your entire life if you use the tools embedded in you from your cadre. I was never a bad kid, just one who enjoyed fishing and snowboarding more than school. However, this lead me to flunk out and made me ineligible to graduate with my class. Being so far behind in school, I had no idea what to do, that's when I got informed of OYCP. I was fortunate enough to attend and graduate from OYCP with my diploma. About a year after graduation, I enlisted in the US Army, I enjoyed every minute of it. Being able to see 14 countries in 4 years I couldn't ask for more. After the Army, I worked as an EMT for a couple years then found my calling as a Deputy Sheriff. I truly believe if I did not attend OYCP I may not have been as lucky as I am now, they gave me the strength and the discipline I needed to succeed.
Thank You OYCP.
My youngest son Daniel attended class 52. He was in great danger of failing out of high school. All of his older brothers were super seniors, meaning they took an extra year to graduate. All I wanted was to have one of my children to graduate on time. His friend had went through the program and did well. He suggested Daniel give it a shot. Daniel and I went to the orientation and he was excited to get started. He needed 11 credits to graduate, he managed to get 10 in the 5 months there. He is so proud of the accomplishment he made. Without this program, he would also take an extra year to gradute, if at all, he will now graduate on time with his class! He will be starting an carpenter apprenticeship as soon as he graduates this june. Thank you OYCP. You are amazing!
When my friend told me about this program and I told my daughter that she could finish her high school there, she asked me to make the appointment for the orientation. The study and attention they give our children is quality, not quantity. Their discipline is exemplary. The teachers take care of them equally, there are no preferences. I thank GOD that we found this place. This was the best decision we made as a family.
I attended OYCP during the 2002-2 year.. I was just writing because I came across the OYCP website and it brought back the memories I had. I am writing to express my gratitude for the program. Before I came in I was a High School student'. I put it in parenthesis because in reality I never really went.. I always skipped classes and such. But I went to the program. Got my GED, and now, I have entered the Air Force.. got my Associates degree, and am working on getting my Bachelors degree in Astrophysics. I am sure that had I not gone to OYCP I would not have finished school and I would be drifting around aimlessly not succeeding in anything. I cannot express how much I appreciate the program and I wish that more people knew about it and what it can do for them. I will continue to spread the word wherever I can. Thank you guys.
"The main reason I came to OYCP was to earn 4 high school credits. While here, I learned other principles such as the importance of setting goals and accomplishing them; earning trust and accepting the responsibilities that come with it. Like many others, I had problems with school, I didn't want to go. My priorities were to hang out with my friends. My parents always told me I could make it through school. This program challenged me to get through school, not just sliding by, but exceeding the standards and being at the top of my class. When we, as cadets, have a goal; the important thing is to stay focused. This program teaches that. While here we learned to motivate ourselves a day at a time. On my wall locker I wrote "Remember, you want to graduate a one plus so trust in God to get you there." This helped me to remember my goal and to strive towards it. THE OREGON NATIONAL GUARD YOUTH CHALLENGE PROGRAM has lived up to it's name. It's been a challenge from day one. Whether it be working on work crew or being in school, we always had to apply ourselves, even at six o'clock in the morning. Throughout the program there have been cadets who could not make it. They refused to accept the challenge. That is the hardest part. The challenge is in striving to get where you want to be. If you want something, you just can't sit there, you have to strive to get there. I learned alot from the staff also. I learned the importance of trust. Trust is the key to success. If no one trusts you, they won't allow you to do certain jobs. Alot of jobs, whether in this program or not, takes an amount of trust. Earning that trust is another part of the challenge. To earn it and to accept all that comes with it. If you earn that trust you need to keep it, if you lose it you might not get it back. Responsibility is another key to success. The definition of responsibility is; Obliged to carry out or take care of duty. When assigned a task you must fulfill it to the best of your ability. You can't stop halfway through, you have to carry it out to the end. In other words, seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. No one can open the doors for you. You have to accept the challenge. It isn't always going to be easy, but to succeed you must give it everything you have. You can't wait around for life to happen to you, you have to go get it. Myself and other cadets here have decided not to wait any longer. We believe we will do it. I would prefer to go farther than those who said I wouldn't go anywhere."
"This program was sometimes hard and I didn't always like it but it was the best decision I ever made."
Testimonial *My son, Ryan Wagner got accepted to OYCP on our second application. We tried everything we could think of to keep him on the right path and failed. OYCP was our last hope. It was so hard to drop him off on his first day but we knew that was the right thing to do. I think I cried the whole 3 hour drive home. Ryan wanted to come. Every letter he wrote, he promised he would follow the rules if we would just pick him up. But he stuck with it and graduated with his high school diploma, on time, from OYCP. Class of 47!!! Not only did he get his diploma but the life lessons he learned at OYCP has made him a successful young man. OYCP gave us hope when other schools wrote him off. He wasn't a bad kid. He was un-engaged because he was bored. OYCP challenged him in ways he had never been before and he excelled. He graduate OYCP and enlisted in the Navy. The structure and discipline really worked well for him. He knew what to expect in boot camp and was excited for the challenge. Ryan has been serving our country for the past 3 years. He spends his days working on airplanes. He even got to change a tire for a Blue Angel, a huge honor for a young airman. He has even earned a NAM (Navy Achievement Metal), which is the highest award for his rank. He comes home often and connects with his friends and sees where they are working or what they are doing with their lives. The best reward is when my son then turns to me and says "thanks for not giving up on me. I am so glad I have the future I have now." We owe this all to OYCP. I have never meet a more caring group of teachers and really the entire staff. They are truly invested in each and every kid that walks through the door. It is like their mission to get every kid to see their fullest potential. I honestly do not know where our son would be today without OYCP. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
My only wish is OYCP could expand their campus to help even more children. These are our children that need us the most. I am so very grateful for this program and all of the people that make it possible.
Sincerely Sandy and Scott Wagner
My name is Alex, Alexander Michael Barreto. I am one lucky enough to attend and graduate from OYCP! Actually, my mother found out about the school and asked if I wanted to go check out to the orientation. I had been struggling to graduate in time at the school I was currently attending and I didn't have enough credits to graduate with my class. I realized that if I went through OYCP I could get my diploma. I didn't want to be the guy who couldn't graduate in time, so the choice was easy for me.. plus I had always liked and wanted to be in the military. I'm super glad I made the choice to give it a shot. OYCP helped me become the man I am today. I learned self discipline, courage and determination. I learned about teamwork and brotherhood. Which would help me get through 8 years in the military and 2 overseas tours. After Graduating from OYCP, I joined the National Guard as a welder. I went to FT Sill Oklahoma for my basic training (which actually was not too bad thanks to OYCP) then on to Aberdeen Proving Grounds for my AIT welding training. When I got back and was placed in my new platoon, I became a Humvee Gunner. Then a couple months after that we got our warning order that our unit was getting mobilized to Baghdad Iraq. Thankfully I made it through that and a second tour to Oman. OYCP helped mold me to be a good soldier and a good man. I am now preparing myself for a new adventure.. which is to become a underwater welder. I would like to thank all the staff at OYCP with all my heart for being there me and all of us who have attended and graduated from OYCP.
As a parent we deeply cared and was concerned that our son would not be prepared or have the foundation to thrive in today’s challenging world - we are most thankful to OYCP. Life as a Teen today is a stronger challenge, distractions are every where, the public school system environment did not engage our son. OYCP offered a superior environment & system, which personally re-focused and brought reality into focus to our son. Our son is now more respectful, excited about his future, and has the tools to independently grow & prosper. We greatly appreciate and thank the entire staff at OYCP, you not only have a great program - it is evident by your actions that you all deeply care about each and everyone of the Cadet’s personal success.
"This program has taught me honor and self-discipline."
My son was definitely going down a very bad road when his school talked to me about OYCP and I said NO WAY. Things got worse and we decided to go to orientation to check it out. The drive was so worth it. My son came home a different person after his few months there and he still looks back fondly of the time he spent there. I cant say enough about all the wonderful people that are working with the kids and making such a difference in their lives! Such a great program if your looking for a positive change in your childs life