HIPS: It Takes Real Guts To make It Through ‘The Other Side Academy’
By Bryan Hyde
COMMENTARY -- Most people have never heard of the Other Side Academy in Salt Lake City.
But if you’ve ever wondered if people can truly change, this is where you’ll find a definitive answer.
The students there have all found themselves at an ultimate crossroads. Most have been arrested or incarcerated dozens of times. They’ve endured homelessness and addiction.
Each of them has been faced with the question, “Am I ready to change?” And each of them has found the courage to commit to the process. It’s a process that takes a minimum of 30 months.
The interview to get into the Other Side Academy is among the toughest interviews a person can face. If an applicant is serious enough to gain entry into the program, they begin at that moment.
During their stay, they may not be allowed to contact their family for a year. Think about the kind of grit that takes. Everyone is held strictly accountable by their fellow students for everything they do.
Repeated mistakes or breaking of rules can lead to dismissal with no guarantee of being readmitted.
This seems harsh but it creates an environment where personal integrity is the rule.
Students who complete the program learn the vocational and social skills to lead productive lives.
More importantly, they gain the confidence, humility and steadfastness that comes from consciously choosing to live with the greatest integrity.
It’s a powerful lesson for those of us who might be tempted to coast through life just being good enough.
* Hyde In Plain Sight is written by KDXU personality Bryan Hyde. Catch his daily HIPS vignette at 7:50-ish every weekday morning on KDXU and listen to The Bryan Hyde Show weekends at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday nights.