Six teenagers from San Joaquin County graduate this week from the District Attorneys program titled Project Navigate Constructive Change.
The program was developed by District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar and her staff. Once funding was arranged, former Stockton Police Captain Ralph Womack was hired to coordinate the efforts.
The program helps at-risk youth "navigate" through some home, school and legal issues that guide them to more responsible and productive lives. Navigation work began in June of 2015. Since then 17 young people from around San Joaquin County have successfully completed the program.
The latest batch of graduates are between the ages of 15 and 19. Damian Walker, 19, described why the program worked for him:
"It's because it's really hands-on. A lot of people do help, Ralph in particular. He calls me, he checks on me, he asks if I'm ok. He asks about any family problems and if I'm struggling at school. People do need encouragement and that's the problem with some people, they don't have someone to encourage them, so this program is very helpful," said Walker.