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      Local radio station helps keep students out of trouble

      A local radio station was founded specifically to help At Risk Youth.

      The radio station helps kids stay in school and become productive Rio Grande Valley residents.

      According to McAllen ISD, 65.3 percent of their students are at risk, and this radio station said they hope their classes can help these students stay out of trouble.

      Vanessa Martinez is only seven but has big dreams.

      I think I want to work here, said Vanessa.

      It's because of her experience in On the Air 78501 that she's decided to stay in school and seek that career.

      We get to put on microphones and practice our lines, said Vanessa.

      Joe Martinez decided to start On The Air 78501 pm the radio station 97.7 to help prevent school dropouts and crime.

      We want to keep them out of trouble," said Martinez.

      "We want to catch them before they get involved in a negative way.

      This radio station recruits at risk youth to come to the station after school and learn how to produce music and be a radio DJ.

      This is where I learned how to cut up tracks and things like that, said Lil Z.

      Through a community youth development grant from the Texas Department of Child Protective Services, Martinez who's day job is a broadcast communications teacher and his partner, give students like Lil Z an Outlet for their creative energy.

      Martinez said Lil Z's father first brought him to 97.7 when he saw the boy hanging out with the wrong crowd.

      His father decides to bring him over to our classes and is able to express his talent, and we realize what he wants to do is be a producer and a rapper and we give him that outlet, said Martinez.

      Since the program first started in 2007, Martinez estimates the program has served around 600 students.

      Martinez said he hopes to continue this program and help reduce drop out rates in the Valley.

      If you TMd like to enroll your child in these classes, just keep these requirements in mind.

      You TMre child has to be at least 7 years old and live or go to school in the 78501 zip code.

      Contact Joe through phone to enroll: (956) 789-0702 or online