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America is trying to save it's young men but it is a very expensive and difficult job. ABRAXAS is a institution which is trying to save American's young men from the path of destruction some of them have chosen.

Young men with a drug problem are sent to ABRAXAS to get them out of the environment and hopefully back into society as a benefit to society.. At the cost of $148 per day. They feel that if they get 10% - 20% success rate they are doing a good job.

The institution is run in an almost military fashion. Their are barracks for the young men and they have a set routine they must follow. They have to attend school and obtain their degree if they are there during that period of their lives. A large gym provides education as well as a relaxation area for the men when they have free time. Free time must be earned through good grades and good behavior. The institution covers 200 acres of property. Approximately 50 acres is currently in use. The men must make their own beds, do their own laundry, clean their rooms, and other chores assigned them.

Once a young man has proven he can be trusted he may be allowed to do yard work which he is paid for. There is an agricultural class and they plant a garden, a culinary arts class where they learn to cook and serve meals. They also have several types of mechanical classes for the young men to learn a trade so they can get work once they have completed their sentence at the institution.

This institution was set up by a woman who was concerned with the future of young men in slum areas who needed a chance to change their lives. She wanted them to have the opportunity to receive an education and learn a trade in the hopes that they would then change their life style and lead a better life than they had in their previous environment. They are taught that life is a never ending uphill battle and if they want to win they must keep fighting to change their life because they are the only ones who can do it.

The main problem with the young men leaving ABRAXAS is that they go right back into the same environment they left and can be tempted or forced back into the same bad habits that got them placed there in the first place. Peer pressure either causes them to return or in some cases they just didn't want to change because they felt they had power and money dealing in drugs or committing criminal acts. Many end up in prison or killed before a year is up. This is often true of young men who really want to change but the gangs fear them so they have them killed to prevent other members from getting out of their gang. Gangs control their members and if you want out the only way is usually by death.

Some of the young men have parents who are willing to move away from the area and this gives the young man a chance to get away from the criminal environment and change his life. Many parents can not afford to move so the young man is forced back into the same environment and has to conform or die. Parents have the option of having their son placed in a residential home so he can be monitored and kept out of trouble but most parents want their son home to work and help pay expenses.

Their are only five of these institutions for young men in America. ABRAXAS has the highest success rate of all of them. They believe it is because they offer job training as well as education. They also place the young men with foster families and if possible keep them away from their past environment. They offer religious instruction and will place them in a job if the man does not wish to return to his old environment.

Like all countries our future depends on saving our young from drug dealers, and criminal elements who would destroy them and cause them to destroy the society which we all live. The counselor said that if they save one young man in a hundred they have saved a great many from destruction because a drug dealer or criminal destroys hundreds of lives so they feel they have saved the people this young man would have destroyed. Let us pray that. the one young man they saved will help save others especially his siblings. Everything in life has a domino effect so let us hope that the good young men have a large reach that the one who refuses to change.

by Jane Custer - USA, has a BS in Communications and loves writing

© July 2001 English on the Internet www.aj.cz