In 1969, a juvenile judge in Fort Lauderdale looked at a kid standing in front of him in court and knew that a sentence in standard juvenile justice would be the end of any bright future the young man might have. On a hunch, he called a friend who was the director of a marine research agency asking for a favor. He asked the friend to take this young man, put him on a boat, work with him as a marine biologist, give him responsibility and keep him away from his neighborhood. A month later, the friend called back asking for eight more kids.
From that first delinquent, Associated Marine Institutes (AMI) has grown into 57 programs in eight states. The programs have expanded beyond just marine to include environmental programs, farming, dog training for the handicapped, horse training and even programs for girls with babies.
To date, over 80,000 students have gone through the AMI Program, with 70% of them never having any more problems with the law.
Do you have an AMI type program in your town?