LOS ALAMITOS – An East Los Angeles teen went from beginning a life of crime to graduating as a cadet at 17-years-old Los Angeles County Police officials said.
Junior Mendez at only 12-years-old led police on a chase while under the influence around 5 years ago authorities said. He said that he was not going to school, and doing drugs already at that age. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Ambriz noticed the boy and wanted to help to guide him through Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives (VIDA) and although Junior quit the first time.
Junior returned on his own just months later after feeling as though his behavior was hurting both himself and his family, he was ready to change and attempt to do better. After making it through the the program Junior was motivated to continue to change his life in a positive direction by joining the Sunburst Academy.
He gave Ambriz a call, feeling he would be the support he needed to get through the program. Junior Mendez made it through the intensive program at the Sunburst Academy camp, which is run by the Army National Guard. Despite wanting to quit the intense program Junior kept going. He feels like now, he can do exactly what he sets his mind to.
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