Rep. Napolitano Tours Sunburst, Pushes for Continued Expansion of Youth ChalleNGe Programs State-wide
(El Monte, CA) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32) joined representatives from local government, law enforcement, non-profit, and higher education entities on a tour of Sunburst Youth Academy—one of California’s National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Programs (NGYCP)—located on the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.
“We are so grateful to everyone who came today and hope they spread the word on why this program must be expanded to serve more forgotten youth,” Napolitano said. “We welcome all to come to Sunburst, speak directly to our young cadets, and see the transformation that takes place. Youngsters enter Sunburst feeling like they cannot do anything and leave feeling like there is nothing they cannot do.”
Joining Napolitano on today’s visit were: Kathryn Barger and Anna Mouradian, deputies to LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich (5th District); Roberto Viramontes, deputy to LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis (1st District); Theresa Goldman, Commander at the Glendale Police Department; Antonia Hernandez, President of the California Community Foundation; and Terri Carbaugh and Thomas O’Brien from California State University—Long Beach. They toured the campus, heard first-hand accounts from cadets, and met with Sunburst Youth Academy Director, LTC Joel Armstrong.
“Some graduates of the program recently came up to me and told me they were working two jobs,” Napolitano added. “It is amazing to see them blossom and so rewarding to see the results.”
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.