The FLIGHT Program
Initially partly funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Flight Program is a mentoring and training program designed to help former Diakon Wilderness Center students become successful, contributing members of society.
Youths in Flight voluntarily participate in the program, accepting the challenging steps they need to take to become successful. The youths rely on one another and on center staff members for support.
As participants say, “We attempt to do what is right, not what is easy. We now look toward the future and our goals instead of living ‘in the moment.’ We want the best that this world has to offer and we’re now ready to go after it in an honorable way. We are separating from our old friends—they don’t know what to think of us anymore. Our families don’t know us anymore... they’re impressed. Our old teachers, probation officers, and everyone else in our communities that we struggled to understand now see that we’re going to make it.”
Youths in the program now have positive dreams and goals and help one another along the path to success, discovering and using community tools and resources to achieve goals. The youths have hiked both Pennsylvania’s and Arizona’s Grand canyons, held fundraisers to support community and Flight projects, and volunteered with such community-based programs as Habitat for Humanity.
While focused on college—one Flight student was recently inducted into his college’s highest honor society—or other educational programs, job training and searches, and community activities, Flight participants also spend weekends together in a range of activities designed to enhance their community involvement and success in life.
Again, as participants note, “We sacrifice our weekends to be with our brothers. We let go of the old Friday-night parties; now we spend that time helping one another and the community. We’re not afraid to cry in front of each other. We’re not afraid to ask for help. We dropped that front. Fridays and Saturdays are now about positive people, places, and things. We’re on the move—in and out of state, going to new events, eating new foods, meeting new people, hiking new trails, and always ... breaking free from our comfort zones and soaring to new heights.”
To learn more about the Flight Program, like our page on Facebook (see link below). In addition, consider supporting the Flight Program (choose Flight Program from the drop-down menu). We are making a real difference in youths’ lives, but depend on external support to make our program possible. Thank you!
For more information on Flight, see our program description.