estled between the Pacific Ocean and the rolling, oak-clad hills of central California lie the fertile farmlands of Salinas, the largest community of Monterey County, with a population of about 160,000. Aptly referred to as the “Salad Bowl of the World” due to the intensity of local agriculture, Salinas is home to many low-income immigrant farmworkers who dedicate their lives to producing the food that shoppers so easily collect from the produce sections of their local grocery stores. Fewer than 60 percent of the city’s residents 25 years or older have completed high school, and only about 12 percent have achieved a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 19 percent of the people in Salinas live in poverty. An unfortunate side effect of the area’s poverty is parents who often work too much to properly manage their children. The result is an increase in drug use and an incessant youth gang problem, leading Monterey County to the highest homicide rate per capita in California for people ages 10 to 24 — about 23.5 per 100,000 — according to a 2015 report by the Violence Policy Center. “Monterey researchers analyzed 20 years of Salinas crime statistics and concluded that violence correlated most closely with lack of education,” noted Miriam Pawel in a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. “The findings confirmed what people have long known in the Salinas Valley, where dropout rates are high and literacy rates are low: A lack of options for poor Mexican children has driven cycles of gang violence for decades.” An initiative that aims to turn around this epidemic is the Bob Hoover Academy at the Salinas Municipal Airport. The program was conceived by famed airshow pilot Sean D. Tucker, who has become known for flying his bright-red custom-built Oracle Challenger III biplane in a thrilling aerobatic routine that he narrates, while flying, in a manner only Tucker can. If you have seen his performances, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you need to.