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Tag Archive | "Ron Silverman"

2nd Chance School needs a second chance

2nd Chance School, at 810 17 Mile Rd, needs community support to make their dream of helping troubled teens in an agricultural environment come true. Post photo by J. Reed.

by Judy Reed

Ron Silverman is passionate about teaching kids respect through working with horses. But he’s also passionate about giving juvenile offenders a chance to go back to school to earn their GEDs and become productive members of society. With the school he founded, 2nd Chance School, he could do both. But he’s going to need some major funding to do it—to the tune of about $250,000.

The school is located on the corner of 17 Mile and Olin Lakes, in the building that previously belonged to Calvary Assembly of God. 

“It’s been a dream of my wife, Patti, and I for 20 years to start a school for troubled teens,” explained Silverman. “We’ve been working on funding for five years. We bought this building two years ago from the church, and now we need funds to build a barn for the horses and put kids in the classroom.”

Silverman said he’s been in the horse business all of his adult life making horse tack. He said he got the idea for the school when he got an order from a similar type of school in another state.

This is a drawing of the type of barn they want to build at 2nd Chance School. Post photo by J. Reed.

While they currently are not holding classes, they have had youth at the school that have been referred from the court for community service to work with the horses. They did a community service project last summer working in a garden there and gave the food to a local food pantry. But the goal is to get students into the classes for half the day, and then have them work with horses for half the day. The students could work toward their GED or to obtain credits with an area school.

Dale Lubahn, a board trustee who has been with the program from the beginning, said the court thought it was a tremendous idea. “There are so many kids in trouble. It’s good for the community, and gives kids some hope.”

They currently have a probation officer on site, and work with Judge Gardener, in Kent County 17th Circuit Court. “The possibility of having the 2nd Chance School emerge to be an academic place the court can utilize is really extraordinary for the children of northern Kent County,” she said in a video posted on the 2nd Chance website (2ndchancecorp.org).

Silverman said it’s all about teaching the kids respect for themselves and others. Once they learn that, it’s easier to teach them in the classroom.

Dave Schlump, a former principal at Cedar Springs Public Schools, is the principal for 2nd Chance and is also featured in the video on their website. He noted that they would get down to the nitty gritty and really work with the students where they are individually.

But that won’t happen unless they can ramp up the fundraising. 

“We have a holistic approach to our program that will set us apart from others,” said Silverman. They are a Christian school with a board of directors, and are a 501C3, so donations are deductible. 

He said the $250,000 they need would cover the barn, and putting 30 kids in the classroom with computers and the curriculum they need. They would maintain their operations with private funding and grants.

“If the community wants to see this happen, we need help. It doesn’t matter if it’s $5 or $500,” remarked Silverman.

If you would like to donate, you can visit their website at www.2ndchancecorp.org and donate online. Or, for more info please call 616-293-2150 or email them at info@2ndchancecorp.org.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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