SHORTSTOP & Programa SHORTSTOP - Overview

SHORTSTOP is a unique juvenile crime diversion program that has served juvenile offenders and their families since 1980. In 1989, Programa SHORTSTOP was developed as a cultural adaption Spanish language version of SHORTSTOP.

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SHORTSTOP targets Orange County youth, aged 12 to 18, who have come in contact with the criminal justice system. Parental participation is mandatory. The most common offenses of our clients are petty theft, burglary, truancy, weapons possession, and vandalism.

Last year, SHORTSTOP served 299 youth and 366 family members:
– 92% were from low-income households (based on Federal HUD guidelines)
– 61% were male and 39% were female
– Race/ethnicity: Hispanic (72%), White (15%), Asian (9%), African American (3%) and Other (1%)

All youth are potentially at risk for delinquency, but our Latino youth are particularly vulnerable. While Latinos represent 42% of the county’s youth, they account for 61% of the youth in substance abuse treatment, 85% of teen mothers, 63% of high school dropouts, 93% of youth gang members and 61% of youth probationers.

Why We Offer This Program

In our long history serving troubled youth, we have found that criminals do not just appear at age 18. Most often, criminal behavior begins in the teenage years, which makes it imperative that we reach out early to young offenders. In fact, studies show that unless youth are taught early the consequences of crime, their crimes will escalate.

This is certainly the case in Orange County, where 69% of juvenile probationers go on to break the law again. All youth are potentially at risk for delinquency, but our Latino youth are particularly vulnerable. While Latinos represent 42% of the county’s youth, they account for 61% of the youth in substance abuse treatment, 85% of teen mothers, 63% of high school dropouts, 93% of youth gang members and 61% of youth probationers (Conditions of Children in Orange County, 2014).

The importance of early intervention programs is indisputable. To meet these needs, SHORTSTOP partners with the Orange County Probation Department, local police departments, and school districts to reach at-risk youth early. In so doing, we are able to prevent youth delinquency from escalating into chronic criminal behavior.

By successfully completing SHORTSTOP, youth are able to move forward in a positive direction, without serving jail time or having a criminal record. SHORTSTOP has been nationally acclaimed for having a 90% success rate and has positioned Project Youth as a leader, not only in Southern California, but throughout the nation in providing successful youth intervention programs that are replicable state and nationwide.

Get Started!

Referrals to the SHORTSTOP program are most commonly from local law enforcement agencies, schools, and other community-based organizations.  If you would like additional information on how to make a referral and/or verify if the program is appropriate for you, contact Manny Gutierrez at Project Youth at (714) 480-1925, ext.114 or

Testimonials and Success Stories

“I haven’t seen my son this happy in a long time. He is excelling in football, his confidence is growing, and our relationship is getting stronger every day. We recently registered him for the 8th grade, and he is taking Advanced Placement classes in English and art. We can’t thank the SHORTSTOP program enough for all it has done.”

-SHORTSTOP parent, July 2015

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“The SHORTSTOP program was a pivotal and humbling experience for my family.  I can say with all certainty, it was a game changer.  Our daughter went from flirting with dangerous choices to an honors student setting off to college this fall 2015.  SHORTSTOP illustrated for her what the dead end the path she was on could lead to.  It was a life-altering intervention, for which we are deeply grateful.”


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Jim was fifteen when he went out with some friends one night and broke into a car. At the time, stealing some cassette tapes seemed like fun. But all that changed when the boys were caught by the police the next day. Jim was given the opportunity to attend SHORTSTOP instead of facing prosecution. He needed a wake-up call and thankfully, SHORTSTOP provided just that. Twenty-two years later, Jim still remembers what it felt like to sit in the holding cell and listen to parolees talk about their time in jail. SHORTSTOP’s message sunk in and Jim understood the consequences of his actions. It was an experience that changed his life.??That was many years ago. Jim is now a corporal with the Santa Ana Police Department. He returns to SHORTSTOP often, but now he’s there as an instructor to help other kids turn their lives around. As he likes to put it, “A lot of these youth, they’re not bad kids. They just screwed up, and now it’s time to get them back on the right path.”

-SHORTSTOP success

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“We both look at this incident as a blessing in disguise. If it wasn’t for this program, who knows what road my son would have gone down. Thank you so much.”

-SHORTSTOP parent, July 2015

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“We are very thankful for the SHORTSTOP program and its positive reinforcement. The 1st session at court was great because kids got a taste of reality from the correctional officer. Highly recommend program.”

-SHORTSTOP parent, July 2015

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“I love your program and what it provides. Within two weeks I see a huge difference in my son. The instructor was awesome!”

-Programa SHORTSTOP parent, July 21, 2015

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“First night of program, my son ran upstairs and hugged his younger siblings. At that moment I realized what an impact SHORTSTOP made. I thank you and your staff.”

-Programa SHORTSTOP parent, July 21, 2015

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“We would like to thank you for what you have done for our child these past two weeks. Now we can rest assured that he will think twice before making potentially negative decisions. May God bless your mission in helping the children of our community.”

-SHORTSTOP parent, May 2015

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“Thank you Mr. Sattar and Mr. Orozco for helping me differentiate right from wrong and for reminding me how to behave with my parents and others. This program gave me a chance to fix my mistake and showed me a side of life that I do not want to go.”

-SHORTSTOP participant, May 2015

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“I appreciate SHORTSTOP because they believed in me and gave me the opportunity to start fresh. My future is bright, I have goals and I am never looking back.”

-SHORTSTOP participant

(10 of 14)

“SHORTSTOP helped me understand who my real friends are and that my mistakes are not worth hurting my family.”

-SHORTSTOP participant

(11 of 14)

“I am so thankful for SHORTSTOP. This program helped me in so many ways. When I was handcuffed my heart was racing and when my mother saw me in the jumpsuit and handcuffs I couldn’t hold in my tears. The guest speakers helped me understand that with every decision I make there are consequences. The instructor treated me like I was really in juvenile hall. This was really a reality check for me, especially because I’m 18 now. My actions have changed. I don’t hang out with the same people and I am more focused on school than ever. I’m glad that I got this second chance to change.”

-SHORTSTOP participant

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“SHORTSTOP taught me that taking the easy way out will never benefit me. It also made me realize who I really am, and it’s definitely not a delinquent.”  

-SHORTSTOP participant

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“I truly appreciate this program. It has helped me communicate better with my kids. I feel like it is the start to the rest of their life.”


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Let's Get Started!

Call or email us today. Bilingual, Spanish-speaking staff available.
Manny Gutierrez Coordinator 714.480.1925 x114
Gabriel Ruan Instructional Assistant 714.480.1925 x129
Daniel Cacho Instructional Assistant 714.480.1925 x127
Maricruz Hernandez Instructional Assistant 714.480.1925 x111