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November 18, 2009 > Youth violence prevention and intervention

Youth violence prevention and intervention

By Shavon Walker

Union City's Youth Violence Prevention and Intervention Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday, November 4 received progress reports from staff on their activities.

Youth & Family Service Manager Patricia Abadesco is managing the Resource Center's relocation. Existing equipment has been installed in the new office and a printer and fax machine are expected shortly. Computers are needed so that youth can practice writing resumes. Donations would be appreciated and a wish list of other items the office needs is available.

Youth Employment Coordinator Fabiola Camarillo has approached a number of companies about hiring youth from the program. They include Hickory Farms, Brinks, UPS and Safeway. She is looking for additional employers willing to do the same. All youth are trained in basic skills before attending an interview.

Lead Outreach Worker Artria Lewis noted that the outreach training from October 12 to 16 was a success. A variety of people participated, including Newark Police Department, probation officers and care providers. Currently, the program works with local police departments to identify and target areas of gang activity. James Logan High School has worked with the committee to allow program staff with past felonies to be on campus at lunch time to mediate conflicts between Hispanic and African-American students. Permission was granted within the last four weeks. Staff must conduct all interviews in the presence of a Logan staff member.

Case Manager Sergio Abundis and Patricia Abadesco participated in a conference call with Oakland youth offenders, the Oakland Police Department, counselors and FBI personnel. Abundis would like to organize Union City's first conference call for January 2010. This will be held during the first half of January. He reiterated the importance of being firm yet calm when talking to youth.

Abundis provided performance data with projections for 2009-2011. An anticipated two-year total of 400 participants will receive "gang-prevention" services; as of September, 57 have been recorded. "Gang-intervention" services are expected to be delivered to a total of 100 clients over the same period; as of September, 33 cases have been recorded. Additional data is expected from counselors at Conley-Carabello and James Logan High School.

The Public Health Institute is currently compiling data for a crime data analysis which will help outreach workers pinpoint areas that need their services. The information will be available in the next few weeks.

Deputy City Manager and Leisure Services Director Tony Acosta advised the committee the most serious referrals came from within the criminal justice system. He suggested that appearances should be mandated for such individuals for January's call-in.

As for budget constraints, funds may become available once certain contracts have been fulfilled. Monies may then be used for employee computers or supplement the program. Currently, the CalGRIP grant status is good.

The program must address the problem of scheduling week-day meetings for program performance partners. Most community members would be unable to attend those meetings. The matter will be tabled for discussion at a later date.

For more information, visit www.UnionCity.org. To donate equipment, contact Patricia Abadesco on (510) 675-5617 or by email at pabadesco@unioncity.org. To discuss employment opportunities for program participants, contact Fabiola Camarillo on (510) 675-5265 or by email at fcamarillo@unioncity.org

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