Youth’s second chance becomes the right track

October 1st, 2019
Donavan Williams at the My Next Move program

He had never been in trouble with the law before. But two summers ago, when he was 15, Donavan Williams was arrested for disorderly conduct. It was at basketball game between rival groups that got out of hand.

Rather than sending Donavan through the traditional juvenile court process, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office recommended him for the Right TRAC (Taking Responsibility and Accepting Consequences) initiative for “low risk” juvenile offenders. Right TRAC refers offenders to local community-based Youth Assistance Programs. If and when the youth successfully completes this program, the charges are dismissed.

Donavan came to the Southwest Solutions’ Youth Assistance Program. The prevention program teaches anger management and life skills, and also connects youth and their families to helpful resources in the community. Donavan embraced the program and took the lessons to heart. He finished the six-month program with flying colors.

“It was a bad decision to get in trouble, but the program turned out to be good for me,” Donavan said. “I liked going to the program because it got me out of my comfort zone and made me look toward the future. I didn’t like school before, but the program taught me that I needed to become more motivated and focused in getting my education.”

Donavan attends Hope Academic Academy in Ecorse and intends to graduate a year early. He then wants to take a year off from school to work and save money so he can return to school and become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Eventually, he aims to enroll in a Nursing program.

“I definitely want to work in the medical field where I can help people in need feel better,” Donavan said.

Donavan is currently participating in another youth assistance program at Southwest Solutions called My Next Move. Donavan was referred to the program by Anthony Graham, a prevention specialist at Southwest Solutions.

“Although Donavan is doing very well in planning for his future, I thought he could still benefit from the program to help him achieve his goals,” Anthony said.

My Next Move provides instruction and guidance about career development, life skills, and financial literacy; and also offers tutoring in math, reading and GED preparation. It meets three evenings a week for six months, and participants receive a stipend. The program is sponsored by Bridgeway Services and is taught by Nailah Holden.

“I enjoy participating in these group activities,” Donavan said. “My Next Move has helped me think about budgeting and what classes to take to get where I want to go and become what I want to be.”

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