Deputy honored for his dedication to our community's youth.
Santa Clarita’s own Deputy Timothy Ferrone was named “VIDA Deputy of the Year” at the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Salute to Youth dinner on April 25. Ferrone’s nomination came from the Sheriff Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services Bureau, who described him has extraordinary, outstanding and special.
Funded by the City of Santa Clarita and established in February 2006, the VIDA Program or Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives, is a 16-week program designed to assist "at-risk" youth between the ages of 12 and 17 by redirecting negative behavior into positive alternatives. In providing the program, the City of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station recognize the importance of offering counseling, family action, community service, physical training, team building, and career guidance to wayward youth in our community. All this is done in an effort to help redirect negative behavior of our youth, who may be tempted to explore gang affiliation, drug use, or crime.
Tim is committed to VIDA on a personal level and aspires to see every youth under his care get away from negative influences, excel throughout the program and graduate into a new direction of life successes. Tim is known for his surprise house and school visits where he keeps track of his VIDA students and ensures they are doing well, obeying their parents and generally making the right life choices and decisions.
In week one, when the program begins, many of the participants are unsure of the life structure and guidance they are embarking upon. Many do not have a sense of what they are capable of and may have little positive direction or self esteem. As the program nears its end, you may have seen Tim in the early hours of the morning participating with the teenagers in a 14 mile hike across the City of Santa Clarita that occurs in the 15th week of the program.
This hike is challenging, but becomes a special one for the participants as it demonstrates true accomplishment and a culmination of all their hard work and dedication. Many of the teenage participants obtain a true sense of accomplishment and self worth after completing something they never thought they were capable of. For most of the teenagers, it represents a true new beginning. The hike is the last step before graduation and concludes with the honorable issuing of dog tags to the teenagers and a celebration breakfast.
"There are many success stories, but the biggest personal accomplishment for me, and the one I am most proud of, is the fact that many graduates of the program refer their friends and family members who are experiencing similar life challenges to me," said Ferrone. "It is very fulfilling and demonstrates to me that I am making a difference in their lives and am on the right track." "It is truly an honor to receive this recognition," he added.
During the presentation and announcement Friday night, Sheriff's Department representatives applauded the City of Santa Clarita for their commitment to the program. It was the City's continued funding of the program, despite the temporary suspension of the program in other areas due to budgetary constraints, that has truly paid dividends for all those involved and the community.
"The City of Santa Clarita clearly understands how important it is to provide guidance, structure, and accountability to our youth," said Mayor Bob Kellar. "We are committed to all our youth programs, as it is up to everyone in the community to take personal responsibility for ensuring that our children have every opportunity to succeed," he added. "We are extremely proud of Deputy Tim Ferrone and his accomplishments with the VIDA program." "He is a great asset to our community and Sheriff's Department!"
"It is the City of Santa Clarita's confidence in and continuance of the program that demonstrates their strong focus on the success of our youth and ensuring those youth in our community, who need extra focus and direction, are not forgotten or left behind," said Captain Anthony La Berge.