Some At-Risk Youths Train As Firefighters

Some At-Risk Youths Train As Firefighters

12 May 2009

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USA — As fire officials warn of another possible devastating fire season in California, 18 teenagers and young adults were outside of Salinas on Monday learning the skills of a seasonal wildland firefighter.

The group, which included some at-risk teenagers, were at Rancho Cielo learning valuable firefighting skills and boosting their self-esteem and self-respect.

Some of the at-risk young men, such as Joel Jeronimo, have been in trouble with the law but are hoping that learning a skill like fighting fires will keep them out of trouble.

“It’s helped me look forward to something else,” Jeronimo said. “Something that will better myself, not make me worse.”

The two-month training course continues into next month.

Firefighters said those who make it through will have enough training to work as a seasonal wildland firefighter this summer.

The training is being done in conjunction with Rancho Cielo, which got a $22,000 grant to fund the program.

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