AMIkids Beaufort celebrates new welding program

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A welding program in partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry promises new opportunities in 2012 for young men enrolled at AMIkids Beaufort, an alternative residential education program for non-violent offenders located in Dale.
Funded through a grant by the Stranahan Foundation, the AMIkids Beaufort welding program will start in mid-January. Instructors from TCL will lead the program, designed to provide AMIkids participants with real life job skills in addition to their high school diplomas. In 2011, 13 youth earned their GEDs at the residential facility.
“We’ve had an exceptional year at AMIkids Beaufort, and the table is set for an even bigger year in 2012,” said Mike Ingram, chairman of the AMIkids board of directors. “Our staff puts in long hours and the young men put in their best effort — and as a result we see great accomplishments.”
The Stranahan Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to AMIkids Beaufort to help fund the specialized, certificated welding program. The foundation assists individuals and groups become more self-sufficient and able to contribute to the improvement of society and the environment. The foundation, based in Toledo, Ohio, was started in 1944 by founders of the Champion Spark Plug Co. Visit www.stranahanfoundation.org for more details.
“Bringing this welding program to our young men is a huge step for us,” said James Rivers, executive director of AMIkids Beaufort. “We’ve already seen successes helping these youth earn their GEDs, and now they can also earn a welding certificate that can help them find a job when they leave.” AMIkids averages about 25 students throughout the year.
The residential, non-prison cultured facility in Dale provides not only education but numerous hands-on educational opportunities, treatment and behavior modification. AMIkids also partners with eight community service projects throughout Beaufort County.  Only male teens convicted of non-violent offenses can participate.
In the past two years, 27 AMIkids Beaufort participants have earned their GEDs and seven of those students have pursued higher education throughout South Carolina.

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