Date: April 25, 2016
1,900 STUDENTS HIT 8TH ANNUAL ANGELS ANTI-GANG CHALLENGE OUT OF THE BALLPARK
ORANGE COUNTY – In an ongoing effort to encourage better life choices for at-risk children, the Los Angeles Angels (Angels) will open their gates Tuesday, April 26, 2016, for the eighth consecutive year, to over 1,900 at-risk students to attend an Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP) Angels game as a reward for improved school attendance and behavior and for staying out of gangs.
The Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy is a reformative Youth Challenge Program with a military-style regiment for high school students that are struggling or high-risk. The Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy cadets will perform a Drill and Ceremony Routine, and one student cadet, Mathew Moran, will then talk to the students about overcoming his struggles to stay in school and out of gangs. Cadet Moran has since exceled in school and won second place in the Orange County Department of Education Memorial Day Essay contest.
Media are asked to arrive at Angel Stadium at 3:00 p.m. to obtain a press pass.
In January 2016, OC GRIP students were given the goal to complete the school year with improved attendance and grades, and involvement in positive after-school activities, with a reward of attending an Angels game as a VIP guest.
The successful students will arrive at 3:00 p.m. and have early access to Angel Stadium, where they will be seated behind the dugout and be greeted by Angels players and staff prior to the team’s stretch and warm up. The game begins at 7:05 p.m. when the Angels face the Kansas City Royals.
More than 1,900 students, ages 9 to 13, in grades 4 through 8, will attend the game. The 1,900 students from 42 schools will be accompanied by 100 teacher chaperones, all as guests of the Angels, who donated over 1,900 tickets and free parking in support of the anti-gang efforts by Orange County law enforcement and schools.
The names of the 42 schools will be displayed on the Angel Vision JumboTron during the game, and representatives from Saddleback Church will entertain the students with games and prizes after the students watch the Angels’ batting practice. Law enforcement personnel will be in attendance to congratulate the students, including Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas. The students will receive meals provided by OC GRIP’s non-profit charitable organization.
OC GRIP currently operates in the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, Orange, Santa Ana, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Stanton, and Tustin.
The participating law enforcement agencies include the Police Departments in the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Orange, and Santa Ana, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Orange County Probation Department, OCDA’s Bureau of Investigation, and the Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department.
“The continued impact of the OC GRIP program within our community is a testimony to the dedication of Assistant District Attorney Tracy Miller and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, numerous law enforcement agencies, and of course the students involved and the support received from their parents,” said Angels Vice-President of Communications Tim Mead. “Our organization is proud to support such an important effort, one in which the tremendous success can be measured on an annual basis.”
“The Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy is honored to support the Annual Angels and OC GRIP anti-gang challenge,” said Director of the Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy, Lieutenant Colonel Joel Armstrong. “Together, we have an opportunity to successfully intervene and enhance positive changes for our most precious commodity, our children.”
“The opportunity to attend an Angels game due to an incentive offered by OC GRIP gives many students the motivation to try harder in school, maintain good behavior, and improve their attendance. Their efforts tend to yield improvements in overall better patterns of behavior,” said Julie Linnecke, Principal of Whitaker Elementary in the City of Buena Park.
“It’s public/private partnerships such as this event with the Angels that helps build trust with our youth and empowers them to stay away from the negative influences of gangs,” said Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas.
“This game comes once a year, but it’s the prize the kids look forward to that keeps them on the right path. In its eighth year, I have seen so many students meet the OC GRIP program challenge by staying in school and out of gangs,” said District Attorney Rackauckas. “Thank you students, parents, and law enforcement partners for working together to make such a positive impact on the community by demonstrating that doing good now means better things later. And thank you Tim Mead and the entire Angels organization for making this day possible.”