Direct Services and Enrichment Programs Support Equity and More

There are 20 hives literally humming in Rancho Cielo’s apiary. Beekeeping is just one of seven enrichment opportunities offered at Rancho Cielo. These programs, alongside its direct services, play a crucial role in how the organization holistically supports students through high-quality education, vocational training and life skills development. Rancho Cielo makes these programs and services available at no cost to students, removing barriers to opportunities for success and upward mobility.

According to CEO Chris Devers, Rancho Cielo is continuously working to expand direct services, which include mental health services, medical and housing information and referrals, meals and transportation. This year, the nonprofit prioritized enhancing its meals and transportation services, adding driver’s education and legal assistance. The organization determined these areas as fundamental in providing equal opportunities for young people to access Rancho Cielo’s programs and offerings, including enrichment opportunities.  

“Enrichment programs expose students to new things and benefit their social-emotional well-being,” added Devers. “Most importantly, it helps engage their participation in core academics and vocational education.” 

Enrichment programs at a glance

RC’s enrichment programs support physical, mental and emotional wellness and offer a fun, hands-on supplement to students’ academic and vocational education. The programs also promote responsibility, respect, and patience for oneself and others, as well as self-confidence and self-esteem. These programs are not required but can be taken as high school electives. 

“We want them to be thrilled by their options, not just the fact that they can hit the ground running with their GED or diploma, plus a certification,” said Joel Jensen, director of RC’s enrichment programs. 

Rancho Cielo has two programs in which students work directly with animals. The Canine Program teaches students how to work with and train rescue dogs positively, primarily with nonprofit partner Living UnChained and founder Melissa Wolf.