Changing Hearts and Bringing Hope


Vocational Training Center

Here students will learn vocational skills like woodworking and small-engine repair, while learning what it takes to land and keep a job as part of our student-run business. They’ll leave with the preparation they need to successfully enter the workforce, including that first real job experience that can be referenced as they seek employment after leaving our program—something that can be difficult for our kids to obtain.



Consumable Project Supplies

​Our vocational program is hands-on. For example, students will be constructing“mini-houses” allowing them to learn specific skills, like framing and dry walling, with the help of local tradesmen and women.Completing something from the ground up will give youth the chance to not only learn new skills, but it will also give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. They are learning by doing—and that takes paint, sandpaper, dust masks, nails, and so on.



Program Needs

Most youth entering Pierceton Woods Academy have been broken by their pasts, failing out of other placements and falling woefully behind academically. Most adults have written these kids off. Without intervention and education, they are in danger of living a life dependent on the system—whether public assistance or incarceration. That’s how they come to us. But that is not how they have to leave us. We believe in the potential of every child we serve and we’re helping them see that same potential in themselves. That’s why our Leadership & Vocational Development program is so critical. Through elements like vocational training, community service, and athletics we’re building work ethic, confidence, and leadership that can literally change the course of these children’s lives.

When we’re successful, the whole community benefits. Youth become less dependent on the social welfare system—tax dollars—and begin making positive contributions to society. Supporting such a project from this perspective makes sense. But sometimes it’s about just one child, like the 12 year-old who took up running as part of this program. He cried as he ran the last leg of his first 4K: “I’ve never finished anything in my life, but I finished this.” For a kid who was all but written-off, this is the start of a new future, full of hope and determination.


Our program includes: Woodworking, Gardening, Horticulture, Automotive, Small Engine, Kitchen 

The Vocational Program at PWA  equips youth with tangible skills and work experience to provide a greater opportunity to find employment after leaving our campus. We’re instilling qualities like a strong work ethic, the value of teamwork, overcoming obstacles to reach their goals and self-confidence.  Students in the vocational program will:

  • Develop a healthy work ethic 
  • Learn teamwork and coordination in group projects 
  • Acquire a sense of accomplishment and pride seeing a project through to completion 
  • Gain experience in the workforce and understand employer expectations 
  • Learn leadership skills 
  • Be given opportunities to participate in managing resources, supervision, and business planning. 
  • Will improve communication skills 
  • Learn the value of conflict resolution as students work with their peers 


Provide vocational training.  Do you have a trade-skill that you’d be willing to share?  You could be a guest instructor for an afternoon, giving our kids the chance to learn something new, hear about career opportunities, and be inspired by the time you have invested in them!  Contact Kevin Hedrick at to find out more.

Share your supplies.  We have an ongoing need to keep our vocational building stocked with everything from basic shop supplies like dust masks and sandpaper to project materials like lumber and stain.  Maybe you or your business has items available to pass along—we’ll get the supplies we desperately need and you’ll get a receipt for making a tax-deductible contribution!  For a complete list of our needs or to find out if we can use a particular item, contact Kevin Hedrick at

Give.  The bottom line is a program like this is well above and beyond what the State is willing to fund when it comes to caring for youth in crisis.  Yet we wholeheartedly believe in the potential of the youth we’re serving—so much so that we’re willing to invest in them.  But we need partners to keep it going.  Our goal is to raise $100,000 toward our vocational programming over the next 12 months.