Drag School USA

Changing Young Lives through HISTORY and the experiences of others.

The greatest tribute to the teenagers of World War II are not monuments or speeches but the retelling of their experiences.  

Welcome to the most unique approach to helping America's troubled youth change the direction and attitude in their lives to become responsible citizens and fathers.  This is the core goal of the Drag School, a model program for all communities.  Headquartered in York County, Pennsylvania, forty years of interviews of the teenagers that were the World War II generation comprise the foundation of our youth projects.  

Welcome  to America's National Drag School Youth Projects Inc.

Drag School

Street to Strip 

Tim's Day 

We are about:

  •  intervention
  •  prevention
  • responsibility
  •  education
  •  citizenship 
  • public safety
  • fatherhood  

 

Our multiple youth programs include Drag School, Street to Strip and Tim's Day.  These programs were created and developed and the result of the founder attending scores of World War II reunions and interviewing thousands of veterans who were the teenagers of those challenging times.  Their experiences, courage. and attitude toward responsibility are the core foundation of what we use in our youth programs, particularly our primary program, Drag School.  

Our efforts are relate these stories and experiences to instill maturity, responsibility and leadership in today's troubled and at risk youth.  

There is a vast and deep vault of experiences of youth in World War II that give us the most poignant examples to enlighten, inspire and direct youth  on a path of "growing up."    We are successful at what we do because we are dedicated volunteers and believe in genuine community service and in what we do.

The National Drag School Youth Project is truly a living memorial and tribute to the teenagers and youth of the greatest generation of World War II.  It is for them, and the future character of our nation's youth that we have created these public safety projects to address the risky behaviors of today's youth.  

What you view here briefly explains our three youth programs.  Our primary program is the Drag School, a two week (35 hours) intensive program for young males (18-33) that are on probation for various non-violent offenses.  We rehabilitate them with the stories of World War II (and other material and visitors).

 Thank you  

Photo: Benefactor Clint Hammond piloted a B17 bomber on 33 missions in World War II.  He was only 22 years old.  Clint visited and spoke of his experiences in the Drag School for several years and was a financial support.   He passed in 2015.  

America's National Drag School Youth Projects Inc.

This website will give you a brief overview of our mission through our multiple youth programs.  Please note these facts before you continue to view this site... 

1. The National Drag School Youth Project Inc., is an IRS approved 501 (c) 3 organization of volunteers.  There are no paychecks in this community service organization. 

2.The concept for this project dates to 1968 in the halls of Thomas A. DeVilbiss High School in Toledo, Ohio and was, in part, inspired by the story of the youthful crew of the USS INDIANAPOLIS and USS HOUSTON (see Story behind creation below).

 

3.The project was founded in 2003 and became a reality in the spring of 2005.  Our first benefactors were World War II veterans and their families.  Our continued programs are supported by the gracious donations of families across America and is also supported by former DeVilbiss High School Alumni.  Our current annual budget is approximately $8500.

 

4.Our programs are endorsed by members of law-enforcement, the judicial system and local and national figures.

 

5. The National Drag School Youth Project is a combination of three youth programs;

  • Drag School is a 3-week intervention program for young males on probation 
  • Street to Strip is a prevention program for at risk youth in their vehicles 
  • Tim's Day is a support program for young males in trouble with the law.

 Endorsement

"The approach you have taken to addressing the carnage and dangers of street racing and other reckless youth behaviors, is actually a model for how a variety of other solutions regarding issues facing young adults in this country could be fashioned." 

Stephen Reed, 2005, 24 year mayor of the capitol city of Pennsylvania and historian

 Drag School: Appreciating Life

The Drag School is a 3-week rehabilitation program designed to encourage young males on judicial probation for various non-violent offenses to help them look at their lives and see how others in far-worse situations overcame their difficulties.  To instill in them a self-pride to be the best of their character and to live that best.

Simply said, to value and respect life... 

Throughout the 3-week nightly classes of viewing and reading material, tests, discussing and sharing experiences, such moments are enhanced when guest visitors make an appearance.

These visitors include survivors and victims of a multitude of life's situations;  including auto crashes, gangs, incarceration, bank robbery, handicaps, cancer, combat, and family loss.  These visitors come from all over America and make their appearance for the benefit of six (6) young males.

SAMPLES OF OUR CLASS TIME STORIES...

Wy Butterfield was a 19-year old teenager that became a man and found that his horrific experiences in World War II gave him pause to "appreciate life."  

During World War II, Butterfield experienced combat in America's  darkest hour.  His ship, USS JUNEAU, was sunk and he was among the very few to survive seven days and nights alone in the ocean with sharks as their companions.   

Wy Butterfield was not a muscular teenager.  He never had a tattoo.  He didn't brag, but he did what was required of him at the time.  He came home from World War II, the memories of an awful experience vivid in his mind, yet he went to work as an electrician and raised a family.  He never had a DUI or cursed the world for his life; he just tried his best to be a good man.  In 1988 Wy Butterfield was among many World War II "teenagers" we sought and interviewed for this future project.

 USING THE EXPERIENCES OF OTHERS TO ENLIGHTEN AND MATURE  

 World War II and other combat situations provide us many examples of teenagers that survived horrific circumstances, and came to have a greater respect and appreciation for life.  William Lloyd of Ohio was another. 

 William Lloyd was only 17 years old when he signed aboard USS FRANKLIN to be counted among the brave boys to defend America.  He had never seen the ocean until then, but he knew it was the right thing to do. 

While USS FRANKLIN was off the coast of Japan in the far Pacific it was assaulted by an enemy plane.  The assault left the ship an exploding and blazing inferno.  Lloyd and many other young boys were trapped below for hours as the ship raged with fire and exploding ammunition.  Many died. 

The horrific experience of the crew of the USS FRANKLIN was captured on Navy combat film and later in a recently released (2012) film noting how many of the crew were subjected to indignation when they were blown overboard, but wrongly accused of leaving the ship while under attack.  We use that film in our classroom as it depicts young people "wrongly accused"... vs those in our classroom whom are guilty of their DUI; and must accept that, holding no malice toward the police that arrested them, or the judge that took away their license.     

William Lloyd has since passed away, but not before we had opportunity to meet him and his family.  Those experiences gave William Lloyd a profound wisdom about life and just how precious it is; it is the message we pass along in the Drag School.

  

OUR STUDENTS LEARN THAT WHAT THEY THOUGHT WAS A "BAD DAY" FOR THEM WHEN THEY GOT CAUGHT IN A DUI... WAS  REALLY A PROBLEM OF THEIR OWN DOING.

On a sunny day in November 2008, 23 year-old Dallas Wiens of Fort Worth, Texas was working at his church painting the steeple when he hit a power line.  The contact should have killed him, but he survived.  However not without the complete annihilation of his facial features and he was rendered blind.  In 2011, Dallas underwent the first full face transplant in America.  His story is told in video and news accounts and provides the Drag School participants pause to reflect on their current situation in the judicial system... a problem they can correct. 

Dallas Wiens' story is one of numerous stories the class will read, view and absorb.   

 

 

Our humble classroom where we do our best to change the direction of life for youth in a positive way. If you wish to help us survive and grow in our programs, consider making a tax-deductible donation.   We recognize all donations and you will receive a color copy of our popular annual newsletter, The SEARCHLIGHT every April.  Thank you

Make your checks payable to:

National Drag School Youth Project Inc., 

PO Box 78, Lewisberry, PA 17339      dragschoolusa@aol.com

717 576 8309 

 

Teenage recklessness in their vehicles is nothing new... and it can only be effectively addressed through interaction with youth.  

 
Street to Strip is a community summer youth program to counter street racing and other reckless conduct on public streets. Street to Strip is also an opportunity for youth to interact with local police.
 

Street to Strip; A youth safety and prevention program

 In the early spring of 2005 the news reports of teenagers street racing and other reckless behaviors in their vehicles were frightening on the streets around the capitol region of Pennsylvania.  It was not a new phenomenon, just one that was getting the attention of television news. 

It was then that the founder (known as "Cowboy") of the Drag School Project decided to create a summer-long program for area youth.  He was hoping to lure some of the "at risk" young drivers from the street into a safe, legal venue to exercise their thrill seeking interests, while also creating a bond to education them on street safety.  It was the beginning of a police endorsed safety program that continues to this day; a program where the police themselves participate. 

 How serious are youth auto crash fatalities?

Teenage deaths from auto crashes are on the rise again.  In 2013 nearly 2200 teens, ages 16-19 were killed.  That is six teen deaths per day.  Most folks believe that the death rate is due to distracted driving (ie cell phone use).  However, the truth is that before cell phones were invented, auto crashes were already the No.1 killer of ages 16-24.  It remains so.  

In the month of January 2015, dozens of teenagers were killed in auto crashes involving reckless conduct, alcohol, and inexperience.  Among them were a brother and sister that were killed only 15 minutes after the school bell dismissed them from class in Wilmington, California. 

 National Drag School Youth Project inc.

PO Box 78

Lewisberry, PA 17339    dragschoolusa@aol.com

The Story behind the creation of the Drag School Project

Stevenson's time at Thomas A. DeVilbiss High School in Toledo, Ohio was not the best of times for Michael Stevenson, but it was a learning experience that shaped his future.  

Stevenson was bullied at home by a half brother and bullied at school by more.  His gym teacher was a World War II veteran of the Naval battles at Guadalcanal and he inspired Stevenson to learn more.  So Stevenson turned to reading World War II history in the school library.

What 16-year old Michael Stevenson read empowered him to endure his bullies, but it also made him realize the great debt of gratitude we owe those youthful defenders of America.  What struck Stevenson most was that most of those in World War II were teenagers, some Stevenson's age.

After high school Stevenson joined the Navy and spent a short time aboard USS HENLEY as a signalman.  If not for his youthful naivety he would have made a career of the Navy; but life did not take that course.  However one promise that Stevenson surely kept was to seek out and meet as many World War II veterans as he could; particularly those he read about in high school.  

In 1972 Stevenson began a quest to create a publication to honor America's veterans and serving military; Navy Life.  Stevenson subsequently not only became a frequent visitor to Veterans' Homes, but also attended more than 60 World War II reunions and brought many long lost veterans together.  He met veterans that fought in combat as young as 12-years old, and interviewed some that were over 100.   He's interviewed a Titanic survivor and a long list of the famous and footnote in history.

The wisdom and stories passed onto Stevenson became the foundation of the youth projects he would later create to help young people, as they had inspired and helped him.  

 

Mitchell M. "Hood" Stevenson 1976-2013

In memory of the boy that inspired this great project to help young males rise above their issues in life.

Mitchell needed help for childhood victimization trauma he suffered.  It never happened due to corruption and failures within the judicial system in Rhode Island.  He grew into an angry young man as a result of not addressing those issues. 

He was murdered on Father's Day, June 16, 2013, when his anger issues  caused him to speak threatening words of provocation to his best friend.  His friend then took his own life too.  

A new book called, Dead-to-Rights, is due for publication in late 2017 concerning the events that brought about Mitchell's death.