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Boys & Girls Clubs Opens High School Diploma Program, Teen Center In Oxnard

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A popular non-profit organization is helping to reduce the high school dropout rate in Oxnard.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme just partnered with Vista Real Charter High School for its Independent Study High School Diploma Program.

BGCOPH director Erin Antrim said there, patrons can take classes and earn their high school diplomas.

“We thought we were going to provide a partner agency school that the kids can come to that wouldn’t be in high school otherwise,” Antrim told CBS2 News’ Amy Johnson.

Vista Real principal Corrine Manley is hopeful the new venture will help teens struggling to fit into the traditional high school system.

“Every student is different, and they learn differently,” she said.

The independent study program not only targets dropouts but students like 16-year-old Margarita Ramirez, who said it offers a welcome change in atmosphere – one that fosters learning.

“It’s less kids and really quiet. No cell phones allowed,” she said.

The organization also has a summer program, which is helping 16-year-old Kenya Saucedo, who had a rough start in high school.

“I needed to catch up on credits because I slacked off,” she said.

The students are required to attend one time per week and get help from three teachers and a tutor.

“We’re giving them a safe place, relationships with adults that are safe, and we work with the kids one-on-one,” Manley said.

Vista Real is the first charter school to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs in Ventura County. They already have 100 students enrolled.

The school quietly sits in the midst of the organization’s new teen center, The Club, which had its grand opening Thursday.

The goal is to provide teens with “engaging, enriching activities during the evening hours, which is statistically when juvenile crime is highest”, according to its website.

Antrim hopes students will take advantage of activities there, keeping them off the streets.

“The City of Oxnard really needed an area where teens can come and hang out and have a good time and socialize. And in the meantime giving them great programs that they can learn from,” Antrim said.

The teen center is open 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer, with slightly reduced hours during the school year. More information is available on the BGCOPH website.

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