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'Big Daddy' Aims to Inspire Incarcerated Youth

Youth were told that they had the power to turn their lives around.

Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco continued his efforts Friday to provide new paths for incarcerated young people.

Richard Salgado, also known as “Big Daddy” nationwide, visited the Suffolk County Correctional Facility and spoke at the jail in Riverside to young inmates who are participants in the sheriff’s Youth Tier Initiative.

Salgado, a nationally known insurance broker to celebrity athletes, owns the New York-based Coastal Advisors, LLC.

DeMarco launched the Youth Tier Initiative in 2011 in order to help incarcerated youth from ages 16 to 19 transition between jail and life back in the community.

“We’re not in the business of warehousing kids in jail," DeMarco said. "We’re hoping to change the course of their lives by giving them opportunities to meet successful and positive role models like 'Big Daddy' Rich Salgado. These kids who engage in criminal behavior often have no idea there is a better life out there for them, and today Rich offered them a roadmap to making some of their dreams a reality. He’s living the dream, and we thank him for sharing it with these incarcerated minors.”

The youth in the program receive intensive mentoring and educational services, and focus on discipline and good habits. In addition, a new house at the Timothy Hill Children's Ranch has been built for homeless youth who have nowhere to go upon their release from jail.

During a presentation at the jail’s chapel, Salgado drew from his own personal experience, speaking about how he went from being a poor student in high school to a success, and how individuals he met along the way influenced his life.

“It’s never too late to form new relationships. I was no angel, but I turned things around. You can, too," he said.

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