ORANGE COUNTY - In an ongoing effort to keep children out of gangs, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Angels) will open their gates Monday, May 19, 2014, for the sixth consecutive year to over 1,700 at-risk students as a reward for improved behavior and for staying out of gangs. This is the largest group of students to ever attend an Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP) Angels game.
Retired Anaheim Police Department K-9 Bruno, who was shot on March 20, 2014, while on duty heroically protecting police and probations officers, will make a surprise appearance to greet the students.
Media are asked to arrive at Angel Stadium at 3:00 p.m. to obtain a press pass
In January 2014, students with severe behavioral problems, including some with as many as 10 suspensions in one school year, were identified by OC GRIP as being high-risk for gang exposure and activity. With an end-reward of attending an Angels game as a VIP guest, the students were challenged to complete the school year with improved attendance and grades, no suspensions, and involvement in positive after-school activities.
The successful students will arrive at 3:00 p.m. and have early access to Angel Stadium, where they will be seated behind the dugout and be greeted by a surprise Angels player prior to the team's stretch and warm up. The game begins at 7:05 p.m. when the Angels face the Houston Astros.
More than 1,700 students, ages 9 to 13, in grades 4 through 8, will attend the game. They come from 46 schools, including 38 elementary schools, and eight middle schools in the Cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Garden Grove, Mission Viejo, Orange, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Stanton, Tustin, and unincorporated North Orange County. The 1,700 students will be accompanied by 100 teacher chaperones, all as guests
of the Angels, who donated over 1,800 tickets and free parking in support of the anti-gang efforts by Orange County law enforcement and schools.
The names of the 46 schools will be displayed on the Angel Vision JumboTron during the game, and representatives from Saddleback Church will entertain the students with games and prizes after the students watch the Angels' batting practice. Law enforcement personnel will be in attendance to congratulate the students, including Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. The students will receive meals provided by the separate but associated OC GRIP
The participating law enforcement agencies include the Anaheim Police Department, Buena Park Police Department, Costa Mesa Police Department, Garden Grove Police Department, Orange Police Department, Orange County Sheriff's Department, Orange County Probation Department, Orange County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation, Santa Ana Police Department, and Tustin Police Department.
"The Angels remain proud and privileged to be part of such an impactful program," said Tim Mead, Angels VP of Communications. "The positive results of OC GRIP can be measured in the present, as well as the future. The vision of Tracy Rinauro, the OC District Attorney's Office, and local law enforcement has not only been realized, it continues to expand. We are excited to partner with such dedicated and passionate individuals as they continue to make a difference
in the lives of so many youngsters, their families, and numerous communities throughout Orange County."
"This is something these kids have been working toward for months," said District Attorney Rackauckas. "It is so important at this age for them to have positive incentives to set and meet goals. We couldn't do this without the continued generosity and commitment of the Angels."
"The Anaheim Police Department remains committed to investing in the youth in our community through programs like GRIP," said Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada. "We are excited to share in the achievements of these kids on this special day."