Building Skills Transforming Lives



  • DCA Student through dinning room window

Imagine the potential in every young person,
in a setting that helps them make it real.
That's Rancho Cielo.
We invest education, training, and counseling
in youth facing challenges.
And they reward our belief in them—with their success.

The programs at Rancho Cielo provide a unique opportunity for youth to engage in activities that encourage learning, build self-esteem, create positive relationships with adults and help them relate to their community in a new, constructive way.

Students Kayaking

Rancho Cielo is a nationally-recognized collaboration, a public-private partnership that brings expert resources together to benefit those youth with the fewest options available to them. The primary clientele of Rancho Cielo programs are youth on probation, but not all of our students have been in trouble previously.

The design is simple: fund a program at a high level of resource to nurture and facilitate youth who need more supportive supervision and positive personal attention than students who are successful in the traditional school or probation-supervision model. RC was designed to be a wrap-around services model, a “one-stop shop” for youth who need extra care.

The adults in the program are expected to set an example of pro-social behavior. We must role model for the youth appropriate ways of dealing with conflict and the complexities presented by the barriers in the lives of our students.

Rancho Cielo is not an “institution.” Students chose to be part of our community. Youth will learn skills, both in the classroom and out, that will further their success after graduation. Those skills are:

  • Anger Redirection
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Ability to apologize, ability to be wrong

It is the express intention to break the cycle of violence and economic hardship faced by the students so that they raise their children in a manner that will ensure that they thrive. This transformation is sparked primarily by raising their self-esteem. Self-confidence and self-assurance are built only through positive interactions, never negative ones. Examples include:

  • “We’re glad you’re here today.”
  • When a student makes a poor decision, we don’t judge him/her. It means s/he made a mistake. We can move on if the student takes accountability for the decision and can articulate the learning from the mistake.
  • We don’t yell or blow whistles at students. Adults in the program role model self-control and the other characteristics we want the students to take with them.
  • We listen to the students respectfully, modeling how to behave in a professional environment.
  • We professionally address the students with mutual respect.
  • We apologize when we make mistakes.

One of the primary assets of Rancho Cielo is the Ranch Property itself. We take advantage of the beauty of the space and the outdoor opportunities it provides, whether for science education, outdoor recreation, or just sitting around to get fresh air and enjoy the sunshine.

Our programs also represent exciting collaborations with local civic, educational and law enforcement agencies. They would also not be possible without the donations and support from volunteers, local businesses and individual donors.

We are lucky to work in this beautiful place and make a difference in the lives of these youth.

Existing programs

Our ongoing programs are:

Benefit of ALL Rancho Cielo Programs:

  • Supportive services: uniforms where required; referrals to outside resources, such as behavioral health, healthcare, and basic needs.
  • Transportation within Salinas area or pick-up at MST transit station. Bus passes available.
  • Personalized Individual Development Plan with Case Manager.
  • Case Manager to complete Job Readiness activities with participant.
  • Case Manager to assist with College Preparedness activities, including:
  • Complete financial aid application (FAFSA)
  • Arrange meeting with college counselor for Ed plan
  • Job referrals
  • Earn High School Diploma in small classroom setting with individualized instruction. Rapid credit recovery.

To apply to any of our programs click here.