Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp expects to graduate as many as 19 youths today. The graduation kicks off a series of events for the facility during the holiday season.

Graduates will receive a high school or a General Education Development (GED) diploma. A member of the Upcountry Rotary Club will attend the ceremony to present a $250 scholarship to one youth who will be leaving on parole.

A Christmas Cookie Decorating Contest is scheduled for Dec. 9 under the direction of Supervising Cook Cynthia Wilson. Each crew gets to pick one person with artistic flair to decorate 25 cookies. A team of judges will choose the winners, and the winning crew will be given a pizza party.

Crews will be decorating their areas throughout the first two weeks of December. On Dec. 14 a team of judges will choose the area with the most creative decorating to win a meal of the crew’s choice.

On Dec. 15, Pine Grove welcomes Russell’s Kitchen Christmas Concert, a group of volunteers visiting camp to deliver encouragement to the youth and perform a Christmas concert.

Santa will arrive at Pine Grove Camp on Dec. 22 to deliver Christmas gifts to the youth. Faithful religious volunteers Mike and Karen Kuhn from Carson City will present a Christmas concert. They will return Dec. 30 to deliver Christmas gifts to the youth who faithfully attend their Bible studies.

For Dec. 31, Pine Grove hosts a New Year’s Eve Bingo Bash that will include bingo, dance contests, karaoke contests along with food and prizes.

CEN employees bring joy to the underprivileged

By Lt. James Hill

Administrative Assistant/PIO

Centinela State Prison (CEN) employees are displaying their usual holiday generosity with programs to help the needy.

CEN will sponsor the “Shop with a Cop” program Dec. 15. The annual event, held as a joint effort with allied law enforcement agencies, gives $100 to each underprivileged child to shop for the holidays.

The children typically indulge in the holiday spirit of giving by buy gifts for their family and loved ones. This year nearly 100 children will be able to participate in “Shop with a Cop” in Imperial County.

CEN also will distribute free bikes on Dec. 21 as part of a yearlong program to help the needy.

The event partners CEN with the Imperial County Probation Department and the Centinela Citizen’s Advisory Committee to provide refurbished bicycles for underprivileged children. This year, the program will provide 88 bicycles to children of the Imperial Valley.

The staff at CEN has sponsored 13 local families for the holiday season in conjunction with the Center for Family Solutions.  The program pairs individuals or groups with needy families to ensure the children have gifts of warm clothes and toys for Christmas.

Corcoran honor guard receives top honor for Veterans Day Parade

By Lt. Lupe Cartagena

Administrative Assistant/PIO

The honor guard for the Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility and State Prison (SATF/SP) at Corcoran was honored recently as the top marching unit in the 94th Annual Veterans Day Parade in Porterville last month.

The SATF/SP honor guard marches in Veterans Day Parade in Porterville.

It was the second year the honor guard marched in the parade. Last year the team won the trophy for best marching group in their division.

The parade chairman said he was extremely pleased and impressed with SATF/SP and its honor guard and expressed his gratitude for the honor guard’s appearance to Warden Ralph M. Diaz. He added that he is asking the team to participate again next year and to be positioned closer to the start of the parade.

CIW helps Special Olympics with ‘Tip-A-Cop’ fund-raising

By Lt. Felix J. Figueroa

Administrative Assistant/PIO

Personnel from the California Institution for Women (CIW) In-Service Training Department, Investigative Services Unit and various administrative staff helped raise funds this fall for the Special Olympics.

They participated in the annual Special Olympics fund-raising event known as “Tip-A-Cop” at Red Robin Restaurants in Menifee, Rancho Cucamonga and Chino.

At the Rancho Cucamonga Red Robin Restaurant volunteers from CIW included Officer L. Bravo, Officer R. Sanchez, Officer N. Ochoa, Sgt. G. Verdesoto, Sgt. K. Anthony, Sgt. R. Thomas, and Lt. F. A. Esqueda.

The staff who participated at the Chino Red Robin included Lt. L. A. Gonzalez, Lt. M. Q. Hernandez, Sgt. M. Vega, Sgt. E. Santa Cruz, Officer R. Garcia Jr., Officer I. Hernandez, and Officer C. Cortina.

Capt. M. Braly volunteered at the Menifee Red Robin Restaurant along with volunteers from other law enforcement agencies.

Staff members from CIW helped raise $6,400 to benefit the 2013 Special Olympics.

Corcoran graduates 70 in major rehabilitation ceremony

The California State Prison at Corcoran conducted a graduation ceremony for Facility 3B on Dec. 5.

A graduate looks at his diploma.

Seventy graduates received General Education Development diplomas or certificates in Electronics, Vocational Office Service and Related Technology and Office Services Level I completions.

Graduation speakers included Mayor Raymond Lerma Corcoran and Warden (A) Connie Gipson.

(Editor’s note: This article originally credited the graduation to the wrong institution.)

Correctional Workers Who Care sponsoring holiday party

The Correctional Workers Who Care (CWWC) is sponsoring the Meadowview Holiday Festival in Sacramento.

The event will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Pannell Meadowview Community Center, 2550 Meadowview Road.

The event will include a breakfast, photos with Santa, entertainment and gifts for children.

CWWC is a non-profit group dedicated to helping the needing through volunteerism, according to the group’s website.