AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- A collaboration between the juvenile court and the Richmond County School System is a getting a big “BOOST.” The THRIVE Program helps kids stay off the streets when they aren’t in school.

The Georgia Department of Education just gave them a large grant of nearly $54,000 which will do a lot to help the program.

“BOOST,” or “Building Opportunities in Out-of-School Time,” provides up to three annual grants for community organizations that help kids when they aren’t in school.

The THRIVE program started 5 years ago by the late Judge, Doug Flannigan. It helps helps students who have been a victim of a crime or abuse, those who have committed a crime, and those with addictions.

Program coordinator Dr. Audrey Armistad said that for many, ‘THRIVE’ is an alternative to jail time.

“Everything we do here at Thrive is an intervention to keep kids from going further into the penal system. We challenge ourselves to make sure none of the kids in our program get into any additional program,” she explained. “We don’t always win. But we are…that’s our goal. Two things the kids know I don’t compromise on. That’s their education and their behaviors.”

Dr. Armistad also explained that with the recent violence in schools they’ve been trying to make the program more visible.

“While they’re in school, we’re going to put our staff in those schools, so that they can see our faces and know that that level of accountability is there. I grab the paper every time I hear something about a kid to make sure its not one of mine. And if it is, then we’re going to deal with it.”

The THRIVE program serves about 240 kids each week.

For more information on the program or to find out how to volunteer, call Dr. Audrey Armistad at (706) 821- 1185.

Photojournalist: Will Baker.