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$100K donation will give Other Side Academy more room to grow

Tristan Searle, left, and Dylan Vantassell, right, participate in a “crossing over” ceremony in front of The Other Side Academy in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. During the ceremony, Vantassell asked to be admitted and promised to commit to accountability, self-reliance, humility, honesty and growth before walking over the bridge. The academy is a 2 1/2 year residential program where those who have been involved in the criminal justice system can learn social, vocational and life skills. A $100,000 donation from businessmen David Ibarra and K.O. Murdock will help expand the program and remodel a former senior living center that is next door to the academy. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Tristan Searle, left, and Dylan Vantassell, right, participate in a “crossing over” ceremony in front of The Other Side Academy in Salt Lake City on Thursday. During the ceremony, Vantassell asked to be admitted and promised to commit to accountability, self-reliance, humility, honesty and growth before walking over the bridge. The academy is a residential program where those who have been involved in the criminal justice system can learn social, vocational and life skills. A $100,000 donation from businessmen David Ibarra and K.O. Murdock announced Thursday will help expand the program and remodel a former senior living center that is next door. Academy students have been arrested an average of 25 times and 90% have been homeless at some point. In addition to learning fundamental personal management and relationship skills, students work at The Other Side Movers or The Other Side Thrift Boutique to contribute to the academy’s bottom line. Following graduation, 70% are employed and maintain a drug- and crime-free life.