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Rep. Napolitano, LA County Dept. Officials Visit Sunburst Youth Academy

March 13, 2015
Press Release

(El Monte, CA) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32) and LA County Department officials visited the Sunburst Youth Academy—one of California’s National Guard Youth Challenge Programs (NGYCP)—located on the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.

“Today’s visit reinforces why Sunburst delivers the best bang for the buck, assisting so many of our region’s youngsters in need of a second chance,” Napolitano said. “We are pleased so many LA County Sheriff's and Probation Dept. officials are willing to be here to learn about the growth and transformation that takes place through mentorship and discipline. Our continued thanks to the dedicated National Guard cadre, local school faculty, and boosters for encouraging these cadets to persevere and emerge better able to succeed.”

Napolitano and LA County officials toured the campus, visited with cadets, and met with Sunburst Youth Academy Director, LTC Joel Armstrong and SGT Hector Ruiz. Everyone was impressed with Sunburst and agreed NGYCP must be expanded to serve more forgotten youth.

“I am inspired by what I heard and saw here today,” said 5th District Bureau Chief Paul Vinetz, LA County Probation Dept.

“This program is remarkable, and what they learn here is one of the most important things we can do for young people,” said Chief Buddy Goldman, LA County Sheriff’s Dept.—South Patrol Division.

“Empowering the choices life is about—you are here to learn how to make good choices and be responsible,” said Megan Reed, Executive Director of the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation—LA County Sheriff’s Dept., encouraging Sunburst cadets.

Others visiting Sunburst today included: LA County Probation Dept. Division Directors Jose Juarez, Lori Placide, Deborah Dominguez-Lares, Hania Bocklen, and Eduardo Silva; and Dr. Cuauhtemoc Avila, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Programs—LA County Office of Education.

California has two NGYCPs—Sunburst and Grizzly, located at Camp San Luis Obispo—and a third in Stockton is anticipated to begin in 2016. NGYCP is a 22-week joint federal-state partnership run by the National Guard that enhances life skills, education levels, employment potential, and prospects for the future by providing the assistance, training, and opportunity for students to earn their high school diploma or GED, at no cost to the cadet. Napolitano is the Co-chair and founder of the Congressional Youth Challenge Caucus.


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