The campus on Dorsett Shoals Road is one of the largest psychiatric residential therapeutic treatment facilities for seriously emotionally disturbed children and youth in Georgia.
The facility is for students who have struggled in a traditional school setting. About 130 young people are housed on the sprawling 1,200-acre campus.
Youth Villages will receive a $291,900 grant to support 19 full-time and two part-time AmeriCorps members on campus, said Caroline Ledlie, manager and director of AmeriCorps Youth Villages on the Inner Harbour campus.
“These AmeriCorps members specifically provide the youth at our facility with training and education in core academic subjects as well as life skills, after-school programming and service learning programs,” she said.
“It is not unusual for those here at the campus to also be one to two grade levels behind academically.”
AmeriCorps members give the youth more focused attention in the areas where they need extra help, which allows the nonprofit to better support them in achieving academically while improving their overall engagement in school as a whole, Ledlie said.
The students come from foster homes and juvenile justice systems throughout the Southeast.
Most of the youth sent to the facility remain there as residents for 90 to 180 days as determined by a judge or foster care officials, she said.
Ledlie said the facility, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, is able to offer unique therapeutic programs for the youth.
“We do a lot of outdoor activities with a focus on healthy living and physical activity,” Ledlie said.
In addition, the facility gives its residents leadership experience from such groups as student council and similar organizations that they can use when they leave the facility, she said.
Gov. Nathan Deal said the facility was one of 15 nonprofits statewide to receive the funds from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The statewide $3.43 million grant was administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, which selected the recipients.
The current year’s AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive due to the strong demand by organizations seeking the resources it could provide, Ledlie said.
AmeriCorps workers are placed with nonprofit organizations nationwide. They receive a stipend during their service and may receive thousands of dollars to pay college costs after they complete their work.