Over 140 at-risk-youth in Orange County had the opportunity to participate in a behind-the-scenes tour of Ford’s design studio as a reward for completing the Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Program (OC GRIP). Students met with law enforcement officers and prosecutors, including Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackuckas, to talk about the importance of education and the negative effects of criminal street gangs.
Special guest, Ralph Holguin, star of the hit Velocity series RMD Garage was on site signing autographs and meeting students.
“It really is amazing what these kids have accomplished,” Holguin said. “They’ve promised to themselves, their families and their communities that they will not engage in violent and harmful activities.”
The hardworking students who were honored at the event had no unexcused absences, criminal activity or arrests, violence or weapons on campus, and no gang related clothing, writing, or behavior. With an estimated 13,000 gang members in Orange County, OC GRIP is a vital program to provide students with a feeling of accomplishment, along with helping them realize that the decisions they make now will impact their future.
Ford Motor Company partners with Orange County law enforcement agencies for this program. This year alone over 90 Ford employees volunteered their time to work hands-on with the students. Their partnership with OC GRIP displays the importance of private and public organizations coming together for the greater good of the community.
This is OC GRIP’s sixth year partnering with Ford and their employees to encourage at-risk students to make education a priority and provide them with the resources and support needed to stay out of gangs.