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WV's Crittenton Services to graduate several girls from program

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Crittenton Services, one of the only licensed residential maternity care service centers for minors in West Virginia, is celebrating the educational achievements of some residents.

Two girls will receive their GEDs through Crittenton's program, two more will graduate from high school and three others were promoted from eighth to ninth grades. The achievement is especially important because many of the girls seeking Crittenton's services have experienced abuse, neglect or are teen mothers, meaning they often fall behind in school.

"Many of our girls are so far behind in school when they arrive at our facility," said Kathy Szafran, Crittenton's president and CEO. "We want to encourage the to succeed in the classroom and eventually move on to college. Education is a key part of their healing process and breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect."

The Crittenton Residential Program in Wheeling helps girls between the ages of 12 and 1 with behavioral health services and promotes self-sufficiency by teaching a variety of life skills. Crittenton partners with Ohio County Schools to offer a full-time, on-site school with certified teachers. Crittenton also offers a GED program.

"We offer a variety of middle and high school courses to accommodate the needs of each grade level's requirements," said Crittenton Marketing Director Stacy Rich. "Our classroom is successful because the program is individualized, based on each girl's needs. Every girl has strengths and weaknesses when she arrives at our facility, and we focus on what they need to excel in each course."

Rich said in her two years at Crittenton, several graduates have went on to college. Two students currently are enrolled at local colleges, and one more will enroll in the fall. Crittenton is not required to keep in touch with young women who have left the program, so Rich could not provide statistics on how many students attend college.

The organization will celebrate the girls' achievements in a May 23 ceremony that will include food, music and academic achievement awards.