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Buenas Vidas Youth Ranch Closing

The support ranch for troubled youth is closing after seeing funding cut.

After supporting troubled boys for 40 years, Buenas Vidas Youth Ranch is closing due to a lack of funding, the Contra Costa Times reports.

The 5-acre horse ranch on Tesla Road is being sold off to pay off debts.

Boys at the ranch were given responsibility, caring and feeding animals, including horses and llamas.

"These kids all had responsibilities for these large pets," said Ken Jacobsen, Buenas Vidas' board president. "Being able to care about something else seemed to have a big therapeutic impact on a lot of the kids' lives."

State funding for group homes started to be cut in 2010, and Alameda County stopped sending boys to the ranch.

The ranch tried to transition and focus on girls, teaming up with MISSSEY -- Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth.

But last year a "series of unfortunate events" over an outdated city ordinance meant they faced a year of before they could get a girls' program off the ground, so board members decided the best course was to close, the Times reported.

What positive impact do you think Buenas Vidas Youth Ranch has had on the Livermore community? Tell us in the comments section.

CK February 21, 2013 at 04:15 AM
I'm shocked about this. What kind of debts can Buenas Vidas have after 40 years on the same property? What's the property value? How much was the thrift shop and bingo hall contributing to the ranch? And how much funding were they receiving from the government? I'm also not clear on the relationship between funding cuts and the county not sending boys to the ranch anymore. I'd certainly like to know more about the closure. How many kids are residing there right now and need to be relocated? Such a sad and disappointing loss.
Californicated1 February 21, 2013 at 05:25 AM
A lot of the problem that this particular block has is that it was re-zoned along with the stuff across the street on Railroad, on "L", and on the other side of the tracks all the way north to Pine Street, east to Junction Avenue and west to "P" Street. And all that happened when Kamena was mayor and that they were pushing for BART to run to downtown Livermore and that they wanted this area redeveloped to so that it would become another "transit neighborhood", like the stuff that Dublin put up near the East Dublin-Pleasanton Station as well as around Hayward, Fruitvale and even Rockridge stations, where there would be high-density housing with the first floor of these buildings for shops and restaurants. Back in 2009, the city sent out these fliers, especially in the affected blocks telling the community to come down to some room on Pacific near the City Council Chambers and look at what the architects designed--something called a "planning charute" if I remember right. Kamena's government, along with the Chamber of Commerce were enthusiastic about getting BART to downtown Livermore, right underneath Junction Avenue, even though BART and some 9600 registered voters said that they wanted to keep BART on 580, where BART already had plans and even bought the land near Greenville and 580 for their trainyard and maintenance shop. It will not be surprising when more shops on that block and the one next to it towards Livermore Avenue shut down.
Anne February 21, 2013 at 06:09 AM
A few years ago, Alameda County started moving away from placing youth in group homes, and many group homes in the county have closed. Children do better in a family setting with a parent or parents as caregivers instead of two or three shifts of staff with a fairly high turnover. But, I'm sure it's the cost of group home placement versus a foster family home placement that is the reason for the reduction in group homes. The county now focuses on finding family members who may be willing to give a home to children who have been removed from their parents which ultimately carries a further reduction in cost to the county and it better for the children. Over the years, Buenas Vidas has been a wonderful support for many children in foster care, and I am sorry they are closing.
WDwBS February 21, 2013 at 06:43 AM
There are no boys at the boys ranch and there have been no boys there for a long time, at least 2 years.
Anne February 21, 2013 at 07:16 AM
I realize there had not been boys at the ranch for some time, but I had heard of the potential MISSSEY connection and was hopeful a collaboration agreement could be reached. I can imagine that the connections to Buenas Vidas within our community regarding the bingo fundraising opportunity and thrift store will be missed.
robin February 24, 2013 at 07:44 PM
CK they weren't located on the same property for 40 years, they operated Buena's Vida's for 40 years...
robin February 24, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Sad day, many happy memories were made at the BVYR

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