Direct Services at Rancho Cielo

Rancho Cielo’s direct-to-student services ensure young people have equal opportunities in our programs and offerings. These include mental health services, medical and housing information and referrals, meals and transportation, driver’s education, legal assistance, clothing, scholarships, as well as enrichment opportunities.

We help alleviate barriers to success.

Our goal is to create an atmosphere of hope and opportunity, where students who desire and need support in obtaining their high school diploma and relevant workforce training have what they need to do so. Rancho Cielo recognizes that providing these services helps clear the way for students to access opportunities to succeed in their academic and career education — and ultimately transition successfully into post-secondary training programs, college, or careers.

Our case managers are integral in connecting students to the direct services we offer. By meeting regularly with each student, they can assess and provide support and/or referrals to the services and/or programs individuals need in real time, so students can feel at ease and stay on track to succeed.


Rancho Cielo provides safe, reliable transportation to and from the ranch via its fleet of vans and certified drivers for students residing in the Salinas area. For students from South Monterey County and across the Monterey peninsula, monthly bus passes are provided for travel to the Salinas Transit Center, where drivers will also transport them to and from campus. For other transportation needs, such as travel to medical appointments or court proceedings, students may work with case managers to arrange for a ride.

Students who are in good academic standing and in need of support to earn their driver’s license may work with their case managers to apply for our Driver’s Education Program. Through a partnership with a local driver’s education school, students receive in-class preparation for the DMV permit test and behind-the-wheel training with a certified instructor. 

The support is inclusive: Case managers take students to the DMV for each test, and all costs for DMV fees and driver’s training are covered by Rancho Cielo. This support is also empowering: Students gain the skills required to earn a license and drive themselves where they, or their families, need to go.

Rancho Cielo serves healthy lunches daily, thanks to educational partner John Muir Charter Schools and the support of chefs and students from the Drummond Culinary Academy. Well-rounded and nutritious, the meals are created using fresh ingredients in a variety of options that rotate weekly. Healthy snacks are also available.

Rancho Cielo has a legal assistance committee that may assist students with removing barriers to employment and help obtain documentation that allows them to legally work. Rancho Cielo is also working with the Monterey County District Attorney, Public Defender, and local superior court system in expunging records, so probation or parole does not preclude students from employment.

Rancho Cielo can provide support with clothing needs, including professional attire for employment. There is a donation-supported student emergency fund, which helps provide funding for clothing, among other needs. The Drummond Culinary Academy also has an annual clothing drive for students, thanks to a local industry partnership.

Case managers can help refer students to local hospitals and medical services depending on particular needs. For those who may not have insurance, they can help locate mobile clinics that provide free primary and preventative health care at various locations in the community. 

Students can work with case managers to locate and apply for scholarships to support post-secondary training or college expenses after graduation from Rancho Cielo. Scholarships are often offered to Rancho Cielo students from local businesses and community colleges in the area.

When issues students face are beyond the case managers’ expertise, they may refer them to the full-time, on-site mental health professional, who can help address emotional distress, challenges and trauma through individual, ongoing counseling and crisis management. Without adequate coping mechanisms, students may struggle with their education, obtaining and keeping a job, and forming long-term positive and productive relationships. 

At times, it may feel daunting for students to reach out to a counselor or therapist; there may be stigma associated with asking for help or the thought that they “shouldn’t complain.” That’s the benefit of having the therapist on campus — it allows students to get to know them in a familiar atmosphere, walk and talk with them, and eliminate the fear of opening up to a stranger.

Rancho Cielo’s mental health professional has served youth who have experienced a multitude of trauma-related experiences, helping them process their trauma, work through it with compassionate support, envision the possibilities and opportunities they can experience in their lives, and recognize the importance of the choices they make today.