Morrell Speaks to GraduatesAssemblyman Mike Morrell visited the San Bernardino County Probation Department’s Gateway Program on Nov. 5.  to speak to court wards graduating from the Phoenix Gang Intervention Program.

Gateway is a San Bernardino area juvenile placement facility operated by the Probation Department that provides housing and vocational programming for 16 and 17 year old minors to prepare them for emancipation.  The Phoenix Gang Program is an individual component for Gateway youth who have gang involvement in their past.  The twelve week program immerses the youth in counseling and curriculum designed to instill different thinking about gangs and ultimately leads to behavioral changes.  The program is facilitated by Terrance Stone of Young Visionaries and touted as one of the most successful street gang intervention programs in the probation department’s history.

Eight youth graduated from the program on Monday night in front of an audience of 19 other Gateway minors, staff, teachers, and Probation Corrections Officers.  Assemblyman Morrell’s unexpected visit surprised the graduates.

The Assemblyman spoke for about 15 minutes, relating to the youth that the key to success in their future was the ability to make sound ethical decisions about their path in life.  He urged the boys to focus on their education, pursue their interests and talents, and surround themselves with good people.

Following the presentation, Assemblyman Morrell held a lengthy question and answer session with the graduates and other Gateway youth.  The minors asked the Assemblyman about why he ran for office and what it was like being in the legislature.

“We were honored to have Assemblyman Morrell participate in our Phoenix Program graduation,” said Chief Probation Officer Michelle Scray Brown. “It is wonderful anytime a person of stature, such as a member of the State Legislature, takes the time to visit the kids in one of our programs.  Assemblyman Morrell recognized that this graduation was a significant achievement in the lives of these kids.  They take pride in an accomplishment like this, particularly when an Assemblyman is present for their graduation.”