Originally founded as Breakout Prison Outreach – the organization was established by Pastor Ortiz to provide support and give hope to youth victimized by drug abuse, violence, and gang lifestyles. In 1987, Pastor Ortiz established Breakout Prison Outreach (BPO) as a California Non-profit Religious Corporation, reaching out to incarcerated youth and young adults, guiding them to find a better way of life through Christian-based teaching and values.
The core outreach activities of BPO began in the state institutional facilities between 1982 and 1996 and during this time span weekly visits with the inmates took place. Breakout Prison Ministry conducted Gang Awareness Weekends within various California Youth Authority (CYA) facilities throughout Northern and Southern California. Due to the accountability and credible reputation gained by the organization, outreach visits were also allowed to be provided within the walls of San Quentin State Prison, Pleasant Valley State Prison, Northern California Women’s State Prison, and the California Institute for Women.
In 1998, the Agency began doing business as (dba) California Youth Outreach (CYO) to better reflect its mission and program services. Through its evolution, CYO has developed the ability to provide cost effective youth and gang intervention services by hiring staff members who have themselves undergone rehabilitation and successfully overcome gang lifestyles.