126 students graduated from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives (VIDA) program last weekend, according to police officials.
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On June 8, at Belvedere Middle School in East Los Angeles, LASD Asst. Sheriff, Cecil Rhambo awarded diplomas to the teenagers who completed the program.
“I am extremely proud of these young men and women for displaying the dedication it takes to complete this training program,” Rhambo said.
The program started in 1996 at the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station by two deputies, Vincent Romero and Drew Birtness, in an attempt to stop the generational arrests they witnessed and to create an alternative to juvenile incarcerations.
Pictured (right): VIDA youth graduates
Since it began, VIDA has evolved into a cognitive, behavior-based, re-directional program designed for families of at-risk youth between the ages of 11 and 17. It has served approximately 10,000 families while becoming a significant resource for redirecting juvenile delinquency in Los Angeles County.
“It’s about building a strong working partnership among law enforcement, community-based organizations, schools, and families so that these children can have a second chance. It’s about intervention in an effort to break a cycle that has no future,” Rhambo said.
These students are referred to the program through the juvenile courts, probation officers, schools, families, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, foster homes, patrol deputies and station detectives.
VIDA focuses on risk factors that increase the likelihood of juvenile delinquency. These risk factors include family relationships, academic achievement, anti-social peers, anti-social attitudes, recreational time and substance abuse.
Risk factors are confronted through cognitive behavior intervention techniques and social modeling, in which VIDA Deputies conduct welfare checks of all students both at home and school.
The VIDA curriculum focuses on healthy living, academic and vocational achievement, truancy reduction, increased literacy, workforce preparation, improved parental relationships and substance abuse prevention.
The program requires youth to attend 160 hours of training and educational courses, while their parents attend 32 hours of parenting classes.
Pictured: (left to right) LASD Altadena Station Captain John Benedict and VIDA Volunteers with Sheriff Baca
For more details on the VIDA program visit www.vida.la
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Source: Santa Clarita News