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Valley man personifies mayor’s hopes for L.A. youths

first_imgSYLMAR – Ruben Rubio has packed a lot of living into his short life. At 11, his best friend was slain by gang members. At 18, he made it into UCLA’s competitive theater program. By his early 20s, he’d done a national commercial and appeared on “The Shield.” At 26, he’ll attempt to become a naval officer. And Wednesday, he took the stage to introduce Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s State of the City address, serving up his own history as an example of hope. “I witnessed a lot of violence growing up,” Rubio said in an interview before introducing the mayor. “I lost two close friends at an early age. … That affected me profoundly; I wanted something more.” (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! So he got into acting at San Fernando High School, graduating in 1999. On his way to UCLA’s drama department, he started volunteering with Communities in Schools, a North Hills gang-intervention, prevention and job services agency. After his 2003 college graduation, he took a job with CIS, running its hip-hop and boxing academies at Maclay Middle School in Pacoima. At the same time he’s pursued his acting career, he’s shepherded at-risk youths away from the gang lifestyle and into athletics and music. Though Rubio intends to pursue a career in the Navy in May, when he’ll attend Officer Candidate School, he hopes to continue community outreach in the future. “Here’s a young man representing this part of our great city in the best way, and I couldn’t be more proud of him,” said CIS President Bobby Arias, who helped recommend Rubio to the Mayor’s Office. “I told him, Go search the world, be Indiana Jones, be an officer and a gentleman. You’ll always have a home here.” [email protected] last_img read more

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