Swanson Center For Youth, Falling For Change, Anthony, Shoemaker - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Swanson Center For Youth's "Falling For Change"

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Questions have been raised in recent years, about The Swanson Center for Youth's facility and treatment of young people.

Tuesday they held their "Falling for Change" event, informing everyone on the positive changes that are being made.

Director of Swanson Center for Youth, Vickie Shoecraft says, "changes to make our facility better, changes to make programs better so that we can keep helping youth to make changes in their lives."

Shoecraft says the boys are required to go to school everyday, and one youth, Anthony says because of their encouragement he earned his GED, and he didn't stop there.

Anthony G. says, "when I did I passed it on the first try, and then after that I started studying for the act on my second try I scored 21 on my first try I scored a 19."

Shoecraft says they got their accreditation back in 2011, and they want to continue to take those steps forward.

She says, "slowly but surely reduced the population here, so we're trying to get to that ideal count of 12 per unit which would be ideal through a therapeutic standpoint, we're not there yet but we're working toward that goal."

One concern in 2010 was overcrowding and they are working to address it.

Another concern was fighting and violence happening inside the center, but Shoecraft says it isn't something they aren't able to handle.

She says, "kids get into conflict, part of our progress it to try to teach them how to manage conflict without violence, how to talk through conflict, talk through their feelings, manage their feelings so it doesn't erupt into violence."

Shoecraft says they try to do everything they can to prepare the boys for life after Swanson, and Anthony says he has high dreams for the future.

He says, "since I got a 21 the state awarded me $5,500 dollar for a top scholarship and right now I'm trying to enroll in Northwestern State University its actually being reviewed right now for my acceptance paper or not, so when I go to school I hope to become a registered nurse."

After that Anthony says he plans to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner.

He says the program has really helped him out.

Shoecraft says she's thankful to have members of the community that continue to support the center.

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