By Lt. Rosie Thomas, AA/Public Information Officer
California Institution for Women
The California Institution for Women (CIW) recently presented refurbished bicycles to students who turned their lives around, improving their grades and attendance record.
On June 2, CIW, Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), non-profit Correctional Employees Youth Group Continuing the Dream (CTD) and the Chino School Probation Department participated in a ceremony at the district office in Chino.
The ceremony was held in honor of students who successfully improved their school attendance and grades. The students received bicycles refurbished by inmates housed at CIW and donated to the CVUSD by CIW and CTD.
CIW Lt. Mario Ramirez, Correctional Sgt. George Verdesoto and Community Resource Manager (CRM) Ronnie Shupe joined retired CIW Correctional Lt. Roy Mabry, Chief Executive Officer for CTD; CVUSD Child Welfare and Attendance Ofelia Verdugo; San Bernardino District Attorney Don Pessa; Probation Officer Jocelyn Jones and Probation Officer Corey Hall in presenting the students with the bicycles. The Chino Probation Department also provided the helmets for each of the six bicycles awarded.
As each of the recipients entered the room with their family, they were surprised with the bicycles. The students stood by their bicycle as Verdugo informed the audience the students school absences had gone down dramatically. Some of the students improved their attendance from 20 days absent to one or two days. Additionally, all of the students improved their grades.
After each student accepted the bicycle, Mabry asked what had changed and each student had a different response. One student said, “I did not want to attend another Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) hearing.” Another student said, “I stopped hanging around bad influences.”
Buena Vista Continuation Principal Rigo Vasquez was very proud of his student Steven Beadle. Principal Vasquez said he wanted to prove students who graduate from continuation schools can be accepted to college and continue their education. The principal said he had two students who rose to the challenge and Steven was one of those students. Steven had been sent to Buena Vista after getting into trouble. Additionally, while attending Buena Vista, he was placed into foster care. Principal Vasquez was proud to announce Steven was the 2016 Class Salutatorian, received four college acceptance letters and would be attending Cal Poly University to be close to his family. Principal Vasquez said, “He is a great kid. He will be the example I use to show the students it is possible.”
As the student listened to his principal, Mabry asked Steven what was different.
“I started getting into trouble but turned my life around. Anyone can do it. The only person who can let you down is yourself. You just have to make the choice to do better,” Beadle said. He was also asked which profession he would be seeking upon graduation from Cal Poly. He said he’d like to pursue a law enforcement career.
In March 2015, CIW reestablished their bicycle refurbishing program and committed to providing bicycles to students. In addition to CVUSD, CIW has awarded bicycles to Riverside Unified School District, Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) and San Bernardino Unified School District (SBUSD).
CIW attends weekly School SARB hearings held in the RUSD and SBUSD. The SARB hearings are held for chronically truant students who have more than 20 unexcused absences and are at risk of failing. During SARB, students are encouraged to improve their attendance and informed if they make a personal commitment, CIW and CTD will award the student with a bicycle. CIW and CTD will continue to award bicycles to students who have made a personal commitment and rose to the challenge of improving their attendance.