Echo Glen celebrates 50 years of helping turn convicted kids’ lives around


A faculty in Snoqualmie celebrates 50 years, however it’s not simply any faculty. It is the final probability for convicted youngsters to keep away from turning into a jail statistic.

Former college students went again to Echo Glen Youngsters’s Middle on Wednesday — to say “thanks” to a spot that modified their lives.

“It was a wrestle to get up, it was a wrestle to fall asleep, it was a wrestle to marvel, what’s my function right here,” stated former juvenile offender Elena Latham. “If it wasn’t for echo glen I hate to say it however I might in all probability nonetheless be incarcerated.”

That is the final cease for many individuals like Latham earlier than life derails into the jail system. At 14 years previous, she was a convicted felon rising into the individual she was advised to grow to be.

“I keep in mind first coming to this place and being so indignant, and inside an hour being put right into a jumpsuit as a result of I used to be so uncontrolled,” Latham stated.

She wanted to study to like — and stated she discovered it together with one hundred different teenagers at Echo Glen.

“Rising up all my life being advised I’m a nasty individual, you must defend for your self if you come right here, and you’ve got these employees right here to help you and inform you that you’re a good individual,” Latham stated.

“These aren’t throwaway youngsters, these youngsters have plenty of potential.”

Marybeth Queral oversees Washington’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Program. She says this place provides youngsters the chance to let go of their previous.

“You do not see them as their crime, however you see them as an adolescent who has a lot potential when provided that help and a protected and secure setting,” Queral stated.

She says you get to see youngsters flip again into youngsters, get enthusiastic about good grades, excessive-5, smile.

“It is about youngsters discovering themselves and discovering what actually issues, and serving to them understand they will reside locally as a profitable individual as an individual that may be like everyone else.”

Latham stayed for a number of years, earned her highschool diploma, graduated and was launched from Echo Glen.

Now the 28-yr-previous lady is enrolled on the College of Washington learning criminology.

“I’m so grateful for this place.”

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