Project Challenge North Carolina Inc. was founded in 1994 and is a Private non Profit Charitable Organization. We are a juvenile community service and restitution program that came about due to a lack of alternative programming for adjudicated youth in the 24th Judicial District of North Carolina. The positive results achieved by our program (11% recidivism rate) has caused us to be invited into many other Judicial Districts and we currently serve thirty-three counties within the state.
Our mission is to help youth become confident productive members of their community through the offering of their time and talents and through challenging recreational activities. This is done in two ways.
The purpose of these activities is to instill in our participants the giving of self to others and to help them understand that their time and talents are a much needed resource in the lives of those around them. As the program developed we were very concerned about helping the youth we serve to become giving caring people within their communities. By communities we mean their homes, schools, neighborhoods and the community at large. To truly understand what makes the youth that participate in Project Challenge successful one has to understand that the philosophy of giving and philanthropy is something that in a lot of cases has to be learned. The majority of youth that are referred to project challenge come from low-income households. Their perception upon entering Project Challenge is that the only way a person gives is with money. In most cases these children have no sense or understanding of how valuable their time, talents, and attention to others can be and how much their time and talents truly matter. There are literally hundreds of individuals in convalescent homes that no one ever comes to visit, these people long for even the briefest amount of time with others. The children's time and attention is invaluable to these people. There is no way to teach giving in a classroom setting. People only learn the rewards of giving by giving. The children that we work with respond to the immediate gratifications of this world our goal and responsibility is to provide these kids with experiences that gratify them. This then becomes the building blocks of future motivation to give on their own. We are able to teach this valuable life lesson as we help them to fulfill their responsibility to the courts. These two goals are not incompatible.
Wilderness Adventure Trips
The second component is a three day two night outward bound style wilderness adventure trip. Trips take place in a wilderness environment where the group is faced with being entirely self–sufficient. Hiking four to five miles each day with 30 to 40 pound packs, participants navigate by map and compass to progressively further camps. In addition to the physical challenges, youth are faced with a structured daily routine, a curriculum based on initiatives and hands on learning and an ongoing responsibility for group and individual decision making. This adventure experience gives the participants the opportunity to build their own community within their own peer group reinforcing the underlying of themes of building community and giving of self to others.