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Troubled Teens Turn Life Around with Santa Barbara Programs

Santa Barbara city leaders are giving “at risk” kids more opportunities to avoid gangs and a chance at a quality life ahead. Many outreach efforts are underway, and one 19 year old says, after getting in serious trouble two years ago, his life is now much better.Thomas Zepeda was once a late night tagger, but now he is on a team of young people who are using their art to create impressive murals in city neighborhoods and parks. “Instead of going out at two in the morning and painting the freeway, starting around two in the afternoon I do what I like to do (painting murals) and people are telling me ‘thank you’ and everything,” said Zepeda.Zepeda credits city workers who have helped him with work and a new direction in life. He also thanks his mother who had been very supportive of his willingness to avoid gangs and look at a more positive life. “I see kids who’s parents don’t care. I’m so lucky to have my mom who cares,” Zepeda said. KEY News Senior Reporter John Palminteri has our story.

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