"An Opportunity for a Second Chance"

Our Mission

... To intervene in and reclaim the lives of at-risk youth, and produce program graduates with the values, skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as adults.

Our Vision

... To be recognized as a premier voluntary program for 16-18 year old disengaged from high school, serving District of Columbia youth and families.


About Us



Dear Applicants,

Hello! I am excited to be the Director here at Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy. Thank-you for taking the time to explore The District of Columbia’s Youth Challenge Academy. I help run and oversee the best kept secret in the District, which is the Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy. To acknowledge that a change in your life may be necessary in order to move forward takes real courage. However, there is a need to have the “Courage to Change”. The staff here at the Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy recognizes this fact, and we respect your decision to bring about a positive change in your life.

The objective at the Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy, is to intervene in the lives of 16–18-year-old teenagers by providing the values, skills, education, and self-discipline needed to produce responsible, productive citizens, and to do so in a highly structured learning environment.

Lastly, we look forward to working with you as you progress through the Applicant, Selectee, Candidate, Cadet and Graduate phases of ChalleNGe, and then most importantly onward towards a successful life as a ChalleNGe Alumni.



Samuel K. Brown

Samuel Brown, Director

The 8 Core Components 

Youth ChalleNGe is a residential program that incorporates a highly structured quasi-military format emphasizing self-discipline, personal responsibility, and positive motivation. Students, who are referred to as cadets while at the Academy, must meet military grooming standards, wear military type uniforms, and observe standard military customs and courtesies. Each class involves a 3-phase program that begins with a two week Acclimation phase where the goal is to identify those students that have the desire and discipline to complete the program. Students who successfully complete the Acclimation phase enter the 20-week Challenge phase where the emphasis is on the “Eight Core Component” curriculum. Cadets must show improvement in each component.

Eight Core Components:

Academic Excellence

Leadership and Followership

Life Coping Skills

Job Skills

Service to the Community

Responsible Citizenship

Health and Hygiene

Physical Fitness

After completing the Challenge phase, students begin a 52-week Post-Residential phase where each student works with an adult role model in a one-on-one mentoring relationship. The adult mentor provides the student advice, guidance, and support to help him/her continue the positive successes and direction achieved during the Challenge phase.