“Dead. Definitely. That was the path I had chosen,” Charles Blanchard said very matter of factly about where he would be if Glen Mills had not come into his life.
Blanchard recalled a lack of guidance and direction closing in on him before he had the opportunity to come to Glen Mills in 1996.
“Just a lot of chaos,” Blanchard recalls about his life pre-Glen Mills.
The western Pennsylvania native, now a successful bunsinessman in several arenas, looks back on his Glen Mills experience with gratitude. Blanchard says the positive approach he has taken towards everyday challenges and struggles harkens back to his Glen Mills roots.
“I look at them as a Bull, as a challenge,” he said, reflecting on the never back down attitude instilled in him at the school in his critical teen years, as he takes on life and business world battles.
Blanchard reflected on his relationship with staff members at the school and remembers how he looked up to his counselors and teachers in “awe.”
“They would take their time and share part of their life with me,” Blanchard said. “Kind of a big brother kind of thing…We were all (students and staff) here to excel.”
Years later as fatherhood neared with the impending arrival of his first born, an understandably nervous Blanchard needed some advice, a friendly ear to bend, and reached out to who else- one of his Glen Mills counselors from years prior.
“These people are my family,” Blanchard explained about the Glen Mills relationships he holds close to this day. “I reached back and called home for support.”
Blanchard cited some of the things he learned at the Glen Mills Schools, just after his life had spiraled into that chaotic state. As he saw it, treating people properly and with respect were two of the platforms that everything else was based on. He also cited the positive reinforcement that permeated the campus, along with, “the expectation of success.”
During that transformative Glen Mills experience, the proud father of two sons says he grew up “a lot” and became independent, also learning not to accept negative influences that can often become poison in a young person’s life.
“The only thing that could stop me was myself,” Blanchard explained. “The Bulls pride…has stuck with me every day of my life.”
Now nearing 40, he tries to be a good member of his community, help where he can, and “steer kids” away from trouble and towards opportunities. With that in mind, Blanchard has been a frequent contributor to the yearly Glen Mills Career Day event as he annually pays the message forward.
“It’s all about helping others,” Blanchard concluded.