Upstate program helps teen turn life around - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate program helps teen turn life around

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Greenville, NC (FOX Carolina) -

It’s been a whirlwind of life for 17-year-old Michael Acosta. He and his mother moved from South America to the Upstate when he was 6-years-old.

"Came in as a resident and probably lasted two weeks,” explained Acosta. “My dad started filing for me to become a US citizen."

A couple of years later, his parents filed for divorce, and his mother became his primary guardian.

"She tried to guide me, but at the time I didn't want her guidance,” described Acosta. “I just wanted to do my stuff."

Their relationship was centered on arguing. His mother feared he was walking down the wrong path.

She contacted Christian Carvajal with Urban League of the Upstate a year ago. Carvajal runs the “Right Step Juvenile Diversion Program.

"They moved over here from Colombia, South America and his father wasn't in the picture at all,” explained Carvajal.

The program has helped hundreds of youth offenders get back on the right track. Carvajal said that after just a few months, everyone noticed a significant change in the young man.

"He came into the Urban League and just needed that love that he was lacking,” explained Carvajal. “His mom was always working. He was always by himself."

As for Acosta, the soon to be graduate from J.L. Mann, he says his future now looks bright, thanks to the program.

"I don't know where my life would be,” said Acosta.

The teen said he wants to join the military and later become a mechanic.

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