Not only have I witnessed changes in the students after they have completed the program at DCA, THEY have expressed to me that they have changed. This is the key impact that DCA has. The STUDENTS recognize their changes and are aware of the difference IN THEMSELVES! The students and I agree that DCA assists students in becoming more physically fit and aware of the importance of healthy intake habits. The students report to me that they feel more open minded and aware of their own ideas and the ideas of others. In many ways, I see that the students who complete the program at DCA are more aware of their surroundings and more confident to overcome peer pressure. Of course, the DCA students are reminded of manners and are extremely respectful after they have completed the DCA program. I am always excited for the students to tell me about their accomplishments at DCA... there are so many that I often have to remind them of some of their accomplishments. This always provides students with a sense of purpose and self worth. Students who complete the program at DCA are goal oriented, have a positive outlook for their future, have a stronger work ethic, and try harder to succeed in school. Students report to me that after completing the program at DCA they give more thought to their decisions and actions.
M.Ed., Middle School Principal, Oakland, CA.
I definitely notice a positive change in our students when they return from their time at DCA. They are more focused, disciplined, and also seem to give more thought to how their current actions and behaviors will influence their futures. I am a huge fan of DCA. It is a terrific program for students who need a change of scenery from either their living situations or their academic settings. Of all the students we have sent to DCA over the years I have yet to see one go there and not be successful. My advice to fellow counselors would be that they should get to know DCA and how it works. It is a tremendous resource for students. The program may not be for every student, but the ones who buy in see a lot of success. DCA should always be considered a possibility for students who are struggling.
Counselor, Stockton, CA.
DCA graduates radiate confidence and better self-esteem. So many of the students leave high school feeling unsuccessful and defeated. They have never been “good” at school and while at DCA they are able to pass their classes and pass them with the highest grades they have ever earned. You can see how proud they are of themselves. Having been familiar with the Youth Challenge program through my work with Sunburst Youth Academy, DCA has exceeded my expectations. My advice for fellow counselors is to think outside of the box. A student can be deemed at-risk for a number of reasons. Look at your students who fly under the radar and are silently failing classes and in jeopardy of not graduating. Or look at your students who don't have the best home life and are starting to follow in the family footsteps of drugs, alcohol, or gangs.