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Direction for troubled youth

Sheriff’s deputies and city aim to change negative attitudes

Posted: January 21, 2009 9:09 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

For the third year, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies aim to steer troublesome youth in a positive direction.

There are two Thursdays left in January to register "at-risk" children for the 16-week, city of Santa Clarita-funded Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives (VIDA) program.

"Basically what we're dealing with is kids in Santa Clarita that have out-of-control, bad behavior, and we're trying to modify that behavior," said Deputy Tim Ferrone of the sheriff's station.

The program assists "at-risk" youth between the ages of 12 and 17 through counseling, family action, community service, physical training, team building and career guidance, according to a sheriff's press release.

"We're trying to redirect their behavior from negative attitudes toward positive attitudes," Ferrone said.

"We have kids doing poorly in school, getting truancies, running away and we're trying to get them back on track and get them to be productive citizens of the Santa Clarita Valley."

The 16-week program consists of three classes a week and a counseling component with parents Thursday evenings. Beyond training, guidance and counseling, the deputies also do random drug testing, school checks and home checks, Ferrone said.

"So we're the extra added eyes and ears," he said. "We're trying to keep these kids structured for 16 weeks and hopefully after 16 weeks they'll continue to do the things they need to do to be successful."
The Santa Clarita program has the highest graduating rate in the county, Ferrone said.

"By putting positive influences around these youth, we can help them realize their self-worth, establish goals and avoid gangs, drugs, crime and negative influences," said Captain Anthony La Berge in the sheriff's press release. "We must do our part with our youth, as they are the future of this great community."

The next scheduled class begins Feb. 14.

Registration for the classes is at 7 p.m. today or Jan. 29 at Sequoia Charter School, 21445 Centre Pointe Parkway in Canyon Country. The youth applicant does not need to be present at registration.

Ferrone's phone number is (661) 510-0881. The Web site address is


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