In an effort to open new doors for students who battle addiction, a new high school was created in Lincroft by local educational and non-profit organizations.
The Knowledge Empowers Youth and Sobriety (KEYS) Academy Recovery High School is the result of a collaborative partnership between the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District, Brookdale Community College and the non-profit organization Right Your Life.
The mission of KEYS Academy is to provide an academically innovative and supportive environment which will serve to eliminate the achievement gap for adolescents who have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and are seeking a sober, healthy lifestyle, according to information provided by the district.
Loures said that any student from any county is eligible to attend the school. The student can be recommended to attend by his/her school officials, a family member or a counselor. There is an interview and intake process that each student will have to go through.
“Not only is it providing academics, it’s providing social emotional support in a caring environment. So you are getting both the academics and the social emotional support, because I think it’s essential that while a student is going through recovery that they are removed from the environment that they were in. This is an opportunity to do that, which I think will lead to success,” Matawan-Aberdeen Regional District Superintendent of Schools Joseph Majka said.
The goal for the school is to help as many young people struggling with substance use receive the support they need prior to graduating high school, according to Right Your Life President Kathleen Loures.
“Our hope is that schools across the state begin to see the value in helping our youth heal. We want to create an environment that helps student to see that they can have a future that is different than their past,” Loures said.
Kim, a parent and a practicing nurse who chose to use only her first name to protect her son’s identity, said that she as been a nurse for 23 years and has a son who battles with sobriety.
Once her son was released from his recovery program, Kim said, “My biggest fear was how can he go back to school? What will happen in two months? What will happen in three weeks? Because I knew that the same environment that caused this is probably going to cause a relapse. Programs like this are so important to save lives, so that is what we are doing here. We are saving lives and we are giving our kids a future and hope.”
Already, the administrators are looking to expand from its one classroom.
For more information about the KEYS Academy, visit RightYourLife.org.