Organization working to help troubled teens - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Organization working to help troubled teens

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PRESCOTT, Wash. -- When you hear the name Jubilee Youth Ranch, you probably think of a summer youth camp, but when you hear their stories, you learn this place has it's hands full.

"I started getting into gangs, getting involved with them, running with them in the streets, doing whatever they were doing,"says Kevin Banti, a student who used to be involved in gangs. Others like Chris Manzano also were caught in trouble at a young age, "I partied a lot, I did drugs." And Steven Rivas also found trouble at a young age, "I wanted to drink again, have sex, I wanted to party."

The ranch is a last resort for young men going down the wrong path. Started in 1995, the goal was provide troubled youth with a place to get help locally.

"We think offering an alternative that allows a young man an opportunity to fail several times on occasions but still be supported, be encouraged," explains Rick Griffin, executive director of the ranch.

Located miles away from urban life and it's distractions, this ranch has offered a lot of the young people who come here an opportunity for a second chance."Set a better example for my little brothers, 'cause my brother's here too, and he was doing the same thing I was back at home," explains Banti. But when he told his brother about the ranch, he decided to follow a new path,"the good choices I'm making, he's making then too."

38 young men live on the ranch. Besides going to school, they may be involved cooking, wood working, and working with animals. In 16 years, lives have been changed.

"I learned self control here, just kids trying to do stupid stuff or like trying to get you into trouble, just don't listen to them, and be what you want to be," says Manzano. And others like Rivas have reconnected with their feelings, "communicating, leadership, forgiving and a whole bunch of feelings I really didn't know I had 'cause I was so bottled up all the time."

The organization which is a non profit depends on donations to pay for the students education. The Jubilee Fruit Loop, a 5 mile run and walk will be held Saturday June 18th.

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