THE BRONX - Some troubled teens, once on the brink of becoming hardened criminals, are now on their way to success with help from a South Bronx program called Youth Link.

The program is aimed at preventing juvenile offenders from making future mistakes. It gears the young offenders toward more positive activities and offers help with schoolwork.

Officials say the program is cheaper than sending juveniles to state prisons. Some $214,000 of taxpayer money is spent on prison inmates, while Youth Link costs about $2,000 per offender.

Program founder Bobby Ferazi says Youth Link is effective. According to Ferazi, 82 percent of kids who went through the program stay away from trouble in the future.

The Youth Link program in the South Bronx has become a model for new branches in Harlem and Brooklyn. Together, the branches help more than 425 city teens every year.

Edge of Innocence: Program keeps troubled teens out of jailEdge of Innocence: Youth program works to help troubled teens