The visit to Rancho Cielo was incredible.  For those who do not know, Rancho Cielo is a nonprofit organization that offers education/vocational services to underserved, “at-risk” youth.  I have to say it was incredible to see what the organization has done. The programs are in either the Construction Academy and Drummond Culinary Academy.  This nonprofit seems more promising in helping at-risk youth than what any probation camp or juvenile detention center can do to help them.  According to Rancho Cielo, the cost of Rancho Cielo is about $10,000 per year.* In addition, about 80% of their students stay out of trouble and about 85% continue to be employed.* Rancho Cielo also stated incarceration is about $100,000 and about 40% of the youth stay out of trouble.* It was also interesting to hear about the transitional housing opportunity they have for the youth; about 22 can live at the ranch. The youth need to apply and state why they want to live at the ranch. I believe this nonprofit has figured out a way to help “at-risk” youth rather than punish them.  When I was interning with the Learning Rights Law Center, I remember visiting different juvenile detention centers and probation camps. The centers and camps were intense and it seemed depressing to see young kids locked up and supervised in an intense manner. I have never seen this type of set up before. So, it was nice to know that Rancho Cielo was an alternative to helping the youth change their life and avoid incarceration in the future.  I hope that there are other ranches out there for “at-risk” youth. I think this alternative is worth pursuing.



*Rancho Cielo.