ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7)-- The YALE Program is designed for young adults who have been through the court system or are currently going through it. The program gives them the tools to lead a better future.
Laurel Clinkscale recently joined the Young Adults Like Enhancement program, called YALE after serving a month in jail. She says being behind bars is something she never wants to experience again.
"There were a lot of people arguing a lot of poeple being loud and disrespectful," said Clinkscale.
Laurel says being in that environment was an eye-opener.
"It's just nowhere to be- for me personally, I was dealing with a lot of depression every day and I couldn't even take a shower because the water was too hard for my skin," said Clinkscale.
The first two weeks of the program are called "Mental Toughness". Leaders take the participants to the Police Academy, where they go through similar training. Participants also have to prepare their own eulogies and recite them to the class.
"You really get into your existence and realize and accept that one day you're not going to be here, and what you did in your life will be talked about," said Clinkscale.
The program gives these young adults the chance to learn life skills, obtain their GED, learn a trade, and even find a job. Program director Shantell Dupree says this age group is especially vulnerable.
"They're getting ready to enter life- as far as positive decision-making skills, we're here to make sure they are on the right path for their future," said Dupree.
For Laurel, it was more than a resource; it showed her she wasn't alone.
"I realized there are a lot of people like me that have gone to jail and they just survive, it's like we're surviving and we have to pick up all the weight we have and keep moving forward," said Clinkscale.
The staff says once a YALE participant- always a YALE participant. Even after completing the program they can always come back for help if they need it.
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