Every year, Santoyo told the teens at the center that if they earned
higher grade point averages, he would let them shave and dye his head
however they wished. If the Estancia High School graduate sported a
red Mohawk for a week, it was of his own doing. But for a good cause.
Santoyo, who gave up a career in radio to help keep teens off the
streets and out of trouble, even tried to join the cast of "Survivor"
three years back to prove another point. "If I can survive on an
island without anything, then [the children] could do anything. They
can go to college and get jobs."
Santoyo didn't know how swim, but vowed to learn if he was chosen
to join the reality show. It turned out that his wife learned she was
pregnant around that time, so he opted not to continue seeking a
place on the show. But again, it proved another great sample of what
Santoyo was all about: leading by example.
Another esteem-booster Santoyo brought to his teens and preteens
was an annual softball game between SOY's crew and members of the
Costa Mesa City Council. Each side poked fun at the other, but again,
it was all for a good cause. It served a dual role: It introduced the
youth to the City Council and vice versa.
Santoyo gave a decade to SOY, and the group is much better off as
a result. Save Our Youth now has a very difficult task: filling his
large shoes. And finding someone willing to part with his or her