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Group home olympics

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webmaster | 07/17/12

Young men put aside differences to compete at Valley Teen Ranch

By Mark Smith

It’s an incredible sight; young members of the Nortenos, Surenos, Bulldogs and other gangs playing flag football, exchanging high fives, and cheering each other on.

In a culture dominated by bloodshed and hatred, these gangs interact primarily in prison or on the street to tragic results lamented by communities and families alike.

But on Monday, more than 40 youth ages 14 to 18 from the Valley Teen Ranch and Keeping Youth Journeying Onward (K.Y.J.O.) group homes gathered for athletic and academic competition as part of the groups’ third annual Summer Olympics.

While the organizations admit many teenagers from across California not affiliated with gangs as part of probation programs, officials said it’s not uncommon to see a child clad heavily in blue or red enter their midst...


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