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MissionRancho Cielo's vision is to transform the lives of at-risk youth and empower them to become accountable, competent, productive and responsible citizens.
The Big IdeaJonathan describes his earlier life before Rancho Cielo as hard and without much hope. He was unsuccessful in a traditional classroom setting. He dropped out of high school and drew away from family and got into trouble, leading to involvement in gangs and criminal activity. Yet, hundreds of vulnerable young people in the Salinas Valley like Jonathan have benefitted from taking another road. The Rancho Cielo Construction Academy provides students a clear pathway to earning a living wage and gaining access to necessary social and work support systems for students and often their families. Participants build one 200 square foot tiny house per academic year while undergoing training in nine modules for building foundation skills in construction, or, follow the green energy/solar installation track. These skills increase the chances of long-term employment and self-sufficiency, ultimately transforming the lives of resilient young people like Jonathan.
David no longer carries the ever-present anger within him that drove him away from school and his family, leading him to substance abuse, and eventually, incarceration. David, 22, a Rancho Cielo Construction Academy graduate, sees himself differently today. He recalls how his Rancho Cielo instructor counted on him and his Youth Corps crew looked up to him. David continues to receive counseling for his substance abuse and credits Rancho Cielo for helping him become the person he sees himself to be today. David is working full time for a local construction company and he visits campus to share his hard-earned understanding with current Construction Academy students and Youth Corps members, who are also challenging themselves to transform their lives at Rancho Cielo. “I tell them what you go through does not have to add up to who you are. Life is your teacher!” David said.
- David Sanchez