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Organization helping South Dakota teens to expand with grant

RAPID CITY (AP) -- The only provider of residential group care and residential addiction recovery treatment for adolescents in western South Dakota has gotten got a big boost.

RAPID CITY (AP) - The only provider of residential group care and residential addiction recovery treatment for adolescents in western South Dakota has gotten got a big boost.

Wellfully's Life Above and Beyond program was granted more than $1.1 million in Rapid City Vision Funds, the Rapid City Journal reported.

The approved proposal includes a new building to house the organization, which helps about 300 teens a year overcome addiction and mental health issues.

The Premier Adolescent Care Center is planned for construction to begin sometime this year, and is expected to be located across from the Roosevelt Park Ice Arena and Swim Center. Officials hope to include a free place for teens to gather and learn how to start a business, make a movie or start a band.

Wellfully Executive Director Jessica Olson said the organization, which is 26 years old, has needed a new building for a while and that this grant will allow it to expand its services. Olson said the LAB program was called for by citizens' feedback on Rapid City's Comprehensive Plan.

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Youth that want to enroll in the LAB program will have to earn their place in the classes by volunteering at Wellfully.

"They come and volunteer and earn their badge to sign up for classes," Olson said. "That way they have ownership by volunteering in our coffee shop and gift shop to prove that they're engaged and committed, and that also makes it socioeconomically fair."

Project sessions in the program will last three to four weeks and include a small-business model for students to plan and create a budget.

With the new grant, Wellfully has raised about $1.5 million to construct the building. Olson said the total budget is about $5.6 million.

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