Instead of spending part of his summer vacation "hanging out," Eric Brown, 11, helped paint four houses for elderly, disabled and low-income San Dimas residents.
The Lone Hill School seventh-grader was one of about 60 San Dimas students who participated in a pilot program created by the Walnut/San Dimas sheriff's substation as an offshoot of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Substance Abuse Narcotics Education program.
The children, ages 10-15, "showed up in their dirty clothes ready to work," said Deputy Ella Cooks.
They met each day in Pioneer Park, then went out in groups of 10 to pick up trash, plant flowers, cut bushes and paint houses. After lunch, they heard speakers talk about gangs, drugs, values and career development.
But it wasn't all work. Afternoons were filled with sports and games and the children were taken to Raging Waters and a California Angels baseball game and toured the battleship Missouri and the McDonnell Douglas mock space station in Long Beach.