Building Skills Transforming Lives


About Rancho Cielo

  • Youth Corps Irrigation

    Rancho Cielo invests in all young people facing challenges for success through diploma education, vocational training, counseling, and life skills development in a safe and affirming environment.

  • Rancho Cielo BBQ and Arbor
  • DCA Students at a dinning table

Rancho Cielo is a comprehensive learning and social services center for underserved and disconnected youth in Monterey County who share our vision of their future success. Our goal is self-sufficiency, and the self-esteem it generates, for all young people.

Our Campus, Year 2000

Established in 2000, we are a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Residing on 100 acres and encompassing two ponds, mountain biking trails and a cultivated garden, Rancho Cielo is also a restored piece of Salinas Valley natural history. Removed from the urban neighborhoods that have fostered self-destructive lifestyles, the Ranch provides a safe place to run, hang out and breathe fresh air. It also enables outdoor science education in a way not available on most campuses. We believe that every young person deserves to have the choice whether to go to college or go to work--or both. Our students have barriers to success that are not of their own making. While some of them have made bad choices, they are often made from bad options.

We have created a series of programs and opportunities to wrap around the whole youth: diploma education to age 24; true vocational training with industry professionals; mental health counseling; probation case management and support; job readiness; life skills; physical activity; enrichment activities; and connections to health, social and family services. Rancho Cielo is in the transformation business. We serve 150 youth across 5 programs. We respond to the needs of the economy through workforce development and college preparation.

Rancho Cielo is itself a collaboration among many partners (see individual program pages for more information). The deep partnerships that Rancho Cielo enjoys with its many collaborators reflects the broader community’s support of our youth and our programs.

Rancho Cielo is a testament that this community cares about our youth, all of our youth. From friends and family lining up with Judge Phillips to clear the land in its early beginnings, to the many volunteers who donate their time and skills for our students, to those who believe in our mission and offer financial support: We thank you! We are committed to fulfill our vision to transform the lives of disenfranchised youth and empower them to become accountable, competent, productive and responsible citizens.

Their heart-warming personal achievement is also important to Monterey County’s economy. While RC is not inexpensive to run, the economics of prevention and intervention are remarkable compared to the costs of incarceration. Typically, only 40% of youths coming out of incarceration manage to steer clear of the law for one year; 80% of Rancho Cielo youths DO NOT re-offend in one year. Additionally, while it costs more than $100,000/year to incarcerate a juvenile in Monterey County, it costs about $10,000/year to educate him/her at RC.

Those statistics represent a 200% increase in positive outcomes for Monterey County youth, making better choices, earning their way off probation, achieving a high school diploma, and readying themselves for the legal workforce for one-tenth of the cost. The social savings in this model are enormous, as these young people become members of the workforce, spend their wages back in the community, and act as role models for their children, the next generation of Monterey County citizens.


Transitional Housing

In 2015 we finished a three year construction project of a Transitional Housing Village. Unfortunately, although the youth at Rancho Cielo make much progress during the day while they are on campus, too many of them have to go home to an unsafe environment. We have created a safe housing area with a capacity of 22 youth. 



Our Vision

Rancho Cielo invests in all young people facing challenges for success through diploma education, vocational training, counseling, and life skills development in a safe and affirming environment.

Combining the rich resources of the natural landscape with the creative partnerships forged between local community, educational and law enforcement agencies, we aim to enrich the lives of young people who walk through our gates.

Rancho Cielo Information

For more information about Rancho Cielo or its programs please contact us.

Complete our program application online.

About Our Students

  • 87% Hispanic
  • 7% White/Caucasian
  • 3% African American
  • <1% Asian
  • 2% Other Ethnicities
  • 74% Male
  • 26% Female
Age Groups
  • 16-24
  • 4% Gonzales
  • 3% Castroville
  • 4% Greenfield
  • 3% King City
  • 3% Soledad
  • <1% Seaside
  • 3% Chualar
  • 80% Salinas

Participant income distribution is 69% very low income, at poverty level (one person earning $9,645 per year or a 4-person household earning $19,307 per year), and 31% low income – below a self-sufficient standard (one person earning $21, 706 per year or a 4-person household earning less than $50,000.)

Across all 5 programs at Rancho Cielo, participant income shows that nearly 70% of students fall in the Federal HUD category of very low income – at poverty level and 25% fall in the low- income – below a self-sufficient standard.