The grass is definitely greener for The Other Side

Posted by Famore on Aug 28th 2019

The grass is definitely greener for The Other Side

This month is a little different in that we’d like to share with you an organization who’s making a difference for many people.

The Other Side Academy, a vocational school -- in Salt Lake City and Denver -- for ex-convicts, drug abusers, homeless and others that have hit rock bottom. The school teaches its students how to live successful lives outside of the crime and substance-filled ones they had prior.

This is not rehab for these students.

“We focus on behavior and on learning how to live a life of honesty, empathy, and accountability. We are a peer community for learning life skills,” The Academy states.

All free of charge, students commit to a two-year program within the Academy and receive career training, peer counseling, education, and more. The Academy is in several locations, serving more than 100 students.

“All that is required of our participants is a strong desire to change and a willingness to do whatever is asked of them to bring about that change.”

Students at the Academy apply voluntarily, however, many attend as an alternative to incarceration. “These plead guilty to outstanding charges before being offered a place to The Other Side – and are required to serve their full sentence if they elect to leave.”

According to a Utah Business article, “The average student—as they become called—at The Other Side Academy has been arrested 25 times, has served a prison sentence three times, and has been to rehab three or four times. 90 percent have been homeless at some point, and 10 percent have been homeless for more than five years.”

The Academy has two training schools (or businesses), The Other Side Movers and The Other Side Thrift Boutique. All proceeds go directly to house, feed and clothe students who are rebuilding their lives at The Other Side Academy. They run their own businesses to be self-reliant and not dependent on Government money.

Many students have success after the program. As of January 23, 2019, 95% of graduates are drug-free, crime-free and employed. In fact, the Academy has recently hired a couple of graduates as staff.

“Our organization is run by graduates of the program and we are a mutual self-help organization. That means that healing occurs when we can have "Each One Teach One" and that when A helps B, A gets better.”

Managing Director, Dave Durocher, has said that "Getting people clean and sober is easy … Helping them change is hard. But, if they change and become good human beings that learn to tell the truth, learn to be honest, and learn to have a value-centered life, they won't go back to that again."

How is Famore helping?

In their latest venture, some of the Academy’s locations in Salt Lake City, are using sewing tools to mend clothes for incoming students. Famore immediately thought this was a great opportunity to get involved and send tools their way to assist in their work.

“From what we’ve read and heard about The Other Side, we think what this company is doing is amazing and are proud to help in any way we can,” Famore COO, Sebastian Rivera, said.

How can you help?

There are many ways to help The Other Side Academy. From donations to volunteering, there’s bound to be a way you can help these members make their mark on the world.