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    Michigan Youth Challenge Academy Cadets and Staff Mobilize for Community

    Michigan Youth Challenge Academy Cadets and Staff Mobilize for Community

    Courtesy Photo | Michigan Youth Challenge Academy Cadets Jonathan Ciszczon and Jonathan Shapiro measure...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Michigan National Guard

    Story by MYCA Recruiter Joan Miller

    BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Staff and cadets at the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy (MYCA) have mobilized to produce fabric face masks to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the local community and fulfil one of the program’s eight core component requirements, service to community.

    The project was spearheaded by academy counselors Yolandra Jones and Karen Gonser, nurse Cathy Seppa, and cadre Janet Dadow. Cadets are gaining valuable life skills as they learn to sew and continue to appreciate the importance of attention to detail.

    “Our cadets have really had a lesson in life coping skills through the COVID-19 pandemic, just as we all have,” said counselor Karen Gonser. “They’ve missed out on opportunities to get out to the communities and participate in service projects, as well as parent and mentor visits and field trips. They’ve been tested more than most of us, not having any change of scenery since this all started.”

    Local businesses donated fabric and other supplies for the project. Industrial sewing machines were purchased by the MYCA, and staff with sewing experience are providing instruction.

    Academy director Mr. Mike Gillum said the current hardship only amplifies the adaptability of the entire organization.

    “The cadets are seeing how solutions can be put together on the fly, and how working together can benefit everyone,” said Gillum. “Seeing how everyone, staff and cadets alike, has come together has really been a testament to the strength of our program. And the resilience of the cadets continues to amaze us all.”

    While the masks are no substitute for medical-grade personal protection equipment, the Centers for Disease Control have recommended homemade cloth masks to curb the spread among the general public, and also help to preserve PPE for medical staff. The first order of 65 masks will be supplied to the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek.

    MYCA continues to exercise restrictive measures and safety precautions as directed by Governor Whitmer and the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard as well as the National Guard Bureau to protect the health and safety of cadets as they continue to push toward program completion.

    The Michigan Youth Challenge Academy applies the military model to alternative education for at-risk youth ages 16-18. It is a 22-week residential program that is free of cost to participants. The next cycle begins in July. For more information, visit



    Date Taken: 04.21.2020
    Date Posted: 04.21.2020 20:11
    Story ID: 368028
    Location: BATTLE CREEK, MI, US

    Web Views: 123
    Downloads: 0