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San Juan Capistrano resident and former probation officer Tom Erikson has partnered with the nonprofit Human Options for the past 12 years to educate youth on the importance of healthy relationships and how to recognize teen dating violence, according to a news release.

Erikson teaches a college-level criminal justice class to approximately 200 students each year at Santa Ana High School’s Elizabeth G. Macias Legal Studies Academy.

“Erikson’s passion for educating high school youth is reflected in his thoughtful curriculum on the inner workings of the criminal justice system, and the consequences of getting wrapped up in delinquency,” the release said. “But to go a step further, Erikson says one of the biggest takeaways he hopes to instill within the next generation is the importance of being a good parent. If one student’s family is broken, abusive, destructive, then he encourages them to turn things around when they have a family of their own and break that negative cycle.”

Erikson reportedly saw domestic violence during his 26 years as a probation officer.

“The cycle of violence is one of the most profound issues impacting multiple levels of society at the individual and larger policy level,” Erikson said. “The future of our youth depends upon both identifying and intervening to stop the next generation of the cycle.”

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