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Program Helps Guide Troubled Teens Down Brighter Path

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OXNARD (CBSLA.com) — A new program is helping youths who have had trouble with the law turn their lives around and get a boost to a new direction in life.

The program is called RAMP, and it is run through the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

RAMP stands for Re-entry Aftercare and Mentoring Program.

“… our objective is to reduce the crime rates of the juvenile kids, so they can get back in the community,” the program’s supervisor, Kenny Plummer, said.

The program begins when a youth is incarcerated at Ventura County’s Juvenile Justice Center. The youth is assigned a team of mentors and counselors who continue their work with the teens for a period long after they are released. The program, the only of its kind in California, recently received a $600,000 grant from the justice department.

DeJohn Patton is one of the youths currently taking part in the program. Patton’s past brush-ups with the law includes theft, breaking curfew, and eventually accessory to grand theft. Although charges for the grand theft were dropped, Patton was given a fresh start, and the program was there to help keep him on the right track.

“They’re just a friend,” Patton described. “You can call if I get bored, always there I can call and say, ‘can’t hang out with the people I used to, or I know where I’m going back to.'”

Member of the law are also supporting the program.

“A lot of time the kids lack strong support systems at home,” Supervising Deputy Probation Officer Heidiann Cobos said. “Our hope with RAMP is that we are putting in place that support system to help them with enrolling in school and gaining employment.”

The program currently helps 20 youths. They hope to increase that to 50.

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