In the fall of 2006, the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club was inspired to create a college scholarship fund to aid Los Prietos Boys Camp detainees who had graduated from Los Robles High School. The program was established to pay homage to the late Dr. Bill Tibbs, who served as the camp’s doctor for many years.

The account, which was dubbed the Los Prietos Scholarship Fund, grew in the spring of 2007, at which time the Goleta Noontime Rotary Club joined forces with the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club to generously donate in honor of the late Therese Brody, who was the camp’s beloved nurse for many years.

These Rotary Clubs have made substantial donations to help youth who wish to attend a community college, a trade school or some form of higher education.

Subsequent to 2007, the Santa Barbara Kiwanis and other local Rotary Clubs, including those representing the cities of Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang, recognized the benefits associated to the funding effort. To date, more than $55,000 has been raised by these organizations and more than 90 young men have taken advantage of the scholarship program.

In October 2012, the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club and the Goleta Noontime Rotary Club met with Santa Barbara County Probation Department representatives and presented the department with their annual donations to the Los Prietos Scholarship Fund.

During the presentation, a former Los Prietos Boys Camp detainee spoke to the contingent and expressed the financial challenges he was experiencing while attempting to attend college and support himself. Within minutes of hearing his story, the group silently passed around an envelope and collected additional funds to assist not only this young man, but a second former detainee who was in attendance.

Donations such as these continue to create an opportunity for youth to further their education and, more importantly, to recognize that the community cares enough to invest in them and in their efforts to work hard, to remain focused and to never relinquish their goals. To these and other community organizations who invest their time and money into the Los Prietos Boys Camp and Academy Programs, the Probation Department remains grateful and indebted for their service.

— Brian Smith is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Probation Department.