Hidalgo County Commissioner David L. Fuentes – in collaboration with District Court Judges Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt, 449th; Mario E. Ramirez Jr., 332nd; Israel Ramon Jr., 430th; and the Juvenile Probation Department – hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for an athletic track at the Juvenile Justice Center Boot Camp in Weslaco on Nov. 1.
The project began as a partnership between Precinct 1 and the 449th District Court. After they were sworn into office, Rodriguez-Betancourt invited Fuentes to visit the boot camp, which is located in Precinct 1. The purpose of the visit was to familiarize Fuentes with the boot camp program for possible future expansion and improvements. They both agreed the athletic track could be renovated quickly and at little to no cost.
“This is an important project for me; it’s something that is helping improve the lives of children,” Fuentes offered. “Hopefully as it changes their lives, in turn they will change the lives of others in a perpetual way.”
The boot camp facility empowers every individual with the time-honored values of honor, courage, integrity and commitment. The transitional program serves a maximum population of 12 boot camp graduates over a three-month period. While in the transitional program, residents continue to address substance abuse recovery topics in addition to providing re-integration into main stream society.
Pointing to a fresh paved track, Betancourt shared the importance of how a small project can make a large impact in the lives of youth.
“Behind me is a small blessing that has already made a huge difference,” Betancourt stated. “This is not only a place for exercise, but also a place where these young men can let out their frustrations, their hardships and everything else they deal with in life.”
The athletic track, which was completed in late September, cost $7,180 for materials. Fuentes also contributed Precinct 1 equipment and staff to work on the project.
“This track might be small, but it goes a long way with the bearing it has had on our cadets,” declared Richard Garza, boot camp facility administrator. “Thank you to all the Judges and Commissioners for helping us with this project; this is your home, and we’re happy about this collaborative effort.”