This nonprofit is building skills and transforming lives while serving up a brighter future for Monterey County's youth who are facing challenges. 

The MISSION of Rancho Cielo is to invest in all young people in Monterey County facing challenges for success through diploma education, vocational training, counseling, and life skills development in a safe and affirming environment. 

Why is it important?

Combining the rich resources of the natural landscape with the creative partnerships forged between the local community, and educational and law enforcement agencies, Rancho Cielo aims to enrich the lives of young people who walk through their gates. Established in 2000, Rancho Cielo resides on 100 acres encompassing two ponds, mountain biking trails, and a cultivated garden. Rancho Cielo is also a restored piece of Salinas Valley's 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.

Rancho Cielo primarily serves LatinX youth between the ages of 16-24 that were unsuccessful in traditional high school settings for various reasons including: food insecurity, homelessness, overcrowded homes, and social-emotional distress without adequate coping mechanisms. They believe that every young person deserves to have the choice whether to go to college or go to work--or both. Most of their students have barriers to success that are not of their own making. 

How do they do it?

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 Rancho Cielo. 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. 

How you can #TravelKindly: 
  • Choose Rancho Cielo as your local charity when booking your hotel through Kind Traveler. 
  • Fulfill a gift in-kind from a list of much-needed materials and items for Rancho Cielo.
  • Explore the Myriad of ways to donate your time and skills to the youth center
  • It is highly recommended travelers stop by for Friday Night Dinners. A casual, friendly setting provides the backdrop for a wonderful dining experience at the hands of their student trainees. Drummond Culinary students prepare and serve the meals and are offered the opportunity to hone their skills for successful jobs in the Monterey County culinary industry.

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