Mt. Juliet Youth Academy has been working for months on their Toast for Change project. The girls watched the movie, Freedom Writers, as a TOP activity. After the movie, the girls asked questions about the youth in the movie. They said that they want to read the book that the youth in the movie wrote, and they expressed wanting to have their own Toast for Change. 

TOP facilitators and the Education Department teamed up to make this project come to life in a new way. The youth are reading the book, The Freedom Writer’s Diary, and planning their own Toast for Change. There are three main parts to their project. They created a poster about someone who influences them and why. They created an art project expressing a change they would like to see in their communities. Finally, they identified a change they would like to see in themselves.

The youth learned so much from this project, and had a wonderful time getting dressed up, decorating the dinner table, and hosting their very own Toast for Change!

Mt. Juliet Youth Academy is a 16-bed residential treatment center for girls ages 12 to 17 years old. The center provides a vast array of programs that focus on Mental Health Treatment, Art, Music & Recreation Therapies and Education. The program is based on community reintegration and engagement through service-learning projects that involve direct, indirect, and civil service community activities. Services are provided 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Contact Mt. Juliet Youth Academy at 615-649-9463 or visit