As I have done in the past, sharing information with you, this week I want to share with you a program that has truly made a difference in our community. I want to thank Janelle Hall from the Miami-Dade corrections department, who was kind enough in providing the information for you the readers. Just so you know, what sparked my interest in this program was I met some young men at an event that were part of this Boot Camp, their stories fascinated me and so did their enthusiasm for becoming great citizens!
Here’s what Janelle had to say:
The Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department’s Boot Camp Program is composed of three phases and primarily consists of young men and women between the ages of 14 and 24 who have been adjudicated as adults. Since the inception of Boot Camp, 551 cadets have obtained their GEDs and countless others have become law abiding citizens. The program has received support from the judges, the county mayor’s office and the Board of County Commissioners.
Attorney Jason Bravo is a perfect example of what the Boot Camp Program can accomplish. In his youth, he found himself serving time for three felonies. Bravo says that the Boot Camp Program gave him “Self motivation, integrity and showed him how to keep his cool in the face of adversity.” Consequently, Bravo graduated from Florida State University’s undergraduate program and law school. however, he overcame that obstacle and is successfully practicing law today. He has won several jury trials and has been published in various law journals.
College Professor Luding Braquin also credits the Boot Camp Program with helping to turn his life around. He graduated from the 3rd Platoon in 1995 and he says that a Boot Camp-sponsored tour of Miami Dade College is what changed his life forever. After completing Boot Camp, he enrolled in classes at the college. Today, he teaches Math Development courses at Miami Dade College’s Kendall Campus.
What advice does he have for our young men? “You don’t have to be involved in illegal activities to prove that you are a man. The Boot Camp Program helped me to wise up and never get arrested again.”
Mike Hooten graduated from the 5th Platoon in 2005. He went on to work for UPS. “I was your typical gang member. I was always fighting and trying to prove myself. Boot Camp showed me that I could become somebody.” “The work ethic, discipline and respect that I didn’t have when I entered the Boot Camp are a part of me today”. Mike also credits his family for helping to get him on the right track. “I went in front of the judge; he gave me one more chance. I chose the Boot Camp over prison time and that was the best decision that I ever made.”
These are just a few of the success stories that the Boot Camp has to offer. Boot Camp makes a difference in the community by demonstrating that there is a better way to achieve real success.