The visit to Rancho Cielo is interesting because it is a sustainable program that tackled different problems related to gang violence.
Rancho Cielo has an emphasis on being financially sustainable. While it is not driven by business profits, the emphasis on making revenue definitely makes it a more sustainable program. We’ve all heard about the countless of stories of organization that are reliant on grants and have to halt programs once their funding run out. Unlike some of the donor-oriented non-profit work, it also avoids reliance on donor money as these youths are now equipped with tools and knowledge to be financially sustainable. In addition, I also like its emphasis on private-public partnership. Some of its programs are funded by governments while others are supported by private institutes and its own incomes. It pulls together support from different sectors to solve problem, which to me is really how it should work. Gang violence should not entirely be the government’s business nor should completely rely on social workers and NGOs.
One of my favorite things about it is that it provided options, with its multifaceted programming. They could choose to work on different sectors and there is no narrow definition of success here. For example, as Susie said, while some of the youth were able to successfully find job in high-end restaurants, some others may want to make different uses out of their skills. In addition to their vocational education, the center also runs a non-traditional education model. Many of these youth joined gang because they were failing in the traditional school system and there was not many options available for them. Thus, Rancho Cielo explored a different model that will provide them recognitions equivalent to a high school diploma and give them option to receive basic education while recognizing that the school system is not for everyone.