The U.S. Border Patrol in West Texas is reaching out to at-risk high school students with a mentoring program that teaches the importance of making sound life decisions.
Twelve teenagers referred by truancy court graduated Friday from the five-week REAL program in which Border Patrol agents mentor them through physical training, community service and other guidance.
The program, created in the Border Patrol's Laredo sector in 2010, has graduated 23 groups of teens in the El Paso sector since it was implemented in 2012.
Friday's ceremony was attended by the division chief for the El Paso sector, Michael Przybyl, and state Sen. Jose Rodriguez.
The program is part of Border Patrol outreach efforts that include Operation Detour, an initiative aimed at showing students the dangers of being hired by drug cartels as smugglers.