Homing In On Success
In 2004, Juvenile Probation Officer, Luis Morales, gained
approval for a unique program to transform the lives of youth
passing through the Cochise County Detention School Transition
Luis was raised in New York City and flew all kinds of birds.
Since his retirement from the U.S. Army in 2003, Luis has been
working with kids. He credited his experience with the birds for
having kept him out of trouble, so he knew others could benefit
also. He just started racing Homing Pigeons in 2004 and really
enjoyed it. His son raced as well and as a result of the
discipline required for the raising and racing of Homing
Pigeons, his grades improved and he and his dad spent much more
quality time together.
Having experienced and witnessed these positive results, Luis
proposed a project for the kids at the transition center.
Utilizing materials from the American Racing Pigeon Union School
Information Packet, Luis examined what other schools initiated.
He and Transition Program Manager, Sara McCauley, adapted the
information to suit the needs of participating youth and
submitted the proposal for approval.
To date, the project has appeared in several newspapers and has
been used as an example for briefing numerous education
personnel within the court system on transition programming.
They have full community support and the kids are thrilled to be
in the program.
As a result of their participation, the kids have a much better
sense of belonging to the community. It has helped kids that
were in jail transition back into society. They were greatly
affected by the Share The Blue Skies video that shared the story
of Jessie Garza Jr. and Jessie Garza III and the Eagle
Alternative School Racing Pigeon Project. This inspired Luis to
push to make this effort a success to benefit the kids.
With bird donations from area club members and AU Southeast Zone
Director, Freddie Rivera, the program had enough birds in the
loft to begin racing September of 2005. The kids were thrilled
to have a racing master like Freddie assist them.
When they had their first meeting, 10 kids signed up, with more
to come. Their guest speaker was Mr. Mark Rhyner of the Sierra
Vista Racing Pigeon Club.
Their project proposal has become a part of the AU School
Information Packet to help others understand how they might
create a similar project.
The kids have already started their public relations efforts
tied to this project. They appeared at the Tucson Youth Expo and
various similar events. They are now preparing to “go on the
road” with their information to the National Pigeon
Association convention in California in January 2006. They are
entering show birds and will attend the event to share
information about their project at the AU booth. Plans are also
in the works for attending the 2006 AU convention in California
to address the AU general membership and attend the youth race.
Each of these projects is unique in format. The common thread is
the benefit to the kids.