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      Reaching out to the youth of Hidalgo County

      Law enforcement officials told Action 4 News it is an increasing trend that has been around for a while.

      "It's always been around because these juveniles know they can't be charged on the federal side," Mission Police Sgt. Jody Tittle said.

      But that does not mean teens cannot face state charges for smuggling drugs or humans.

      Still, teens continue to take this dangerous path"a path that could have serious implications in the future.

      "That's something they should think about before getting involved in any negative or criminal activity that could mark them in the future, Senior Supervisor for Edinburg Parks and Recreation, Martin Martinez said. It could hurt them in succeeding, getting a high paying job, or becoming someone important."

      For 28 years Martinez said he dedicated his life to children.

      "This is my student and he's 115 pound champ...this is another student....." Martinez beamed as he talked about some of the ~at risk TM youth he has helped over the years.

      "If I don't have the answers I will guide you in the right direction, Martinez said. I will get you the sources that can help you get your feet on the ground and back on the right track."

      Martinez is not alone in this fight to help the youth of Hidalgo County find their place in life.

      Ashley Alvarez has spent the last year dedicating much of her time to Arise"where she educated youth on the importance of continuing their education.

      "We just show them we care and that we'll always be there for them no matter their situation," Alvarez said.

      She adds, unfortunately some children are often left with no one to turn too when life gets tough.

      She said having a place like Arise will help children see, family or not, there are people in the community who care.

      Both Arise and Edinburg Parks and Recreation have activities for youth all year long.

      To contact Arise simply call 783-6959.

      For Edinburg Parks and Recreation call 381-5631.