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May 14, 2010 > Youth violence prevention and intervention update

Youth violence prevention and intervention update

By Shavon Walker

The Youth Violence Prevention & Intervention Advisory Committee (YVPIAC) met on May 4, 2010 to update its members on a number of topics. The committee's focus is to reduce violence among young people in Union City and provide support for at risk youth. The programs are funded by Measure UU and CalGRIP grants.

Ronda Jackson from the Public Health Institute (PHI) reported that her agency continues to compile information for crime data analysis. PHI is working with partner police departments and other organizations to explain their strategy and how to apply it. Union City Police Department will check the initial crime data analysis for accuracy before it is released to the committee. The information will discuss the problem of youth violence without identifying any offenders.

Tony Acosta gave a situation report about the CalGRIP grant. A second-quarter report, compiled by Youth and Family Services, showed monthly growth in every category; however, as of May, the grant is 29 percent expended, which is less than expected.

Acosta also presented a budget report. There is $117,000 for contract services, which would be used to upgrade benefits to the level of standard city benefits; $6,000 for reserve staff training; $5,000 for development evaluation; $20,000 for police support; $40,000 for a half-time administrative staff position; and another $16,000 for a mobile phone budget, which would facilitate case worker and outreach work.

"CalGRIP will run through March 2011," Acosta added, "and then we'll prepare for an audit by April 30."

"It's been difficult finding the right person with the right qualifications and demographic," he replied, when asked about the vacant outreach worker position. "We had two candidates but both had extenuating circumstances."

Head of staff Patricia Abadesco advised that four of the six participants in the March 31 call-in, have been very engaged in the program. One began the program, then decided not to participate but the probation office intervened. Four of the six are also receiving GED tutoring, and the three who finish may have their testing paid for by Tri-CED.

The next call-in will be at the Holly Center on May 12 at noon. Twelve participants have been identified for the upcoming call-in but participation might be a problem as half of them have jobs. Probation will coordinate with employers as YVPIAC wants them to maintain good standing at work. New speakers will be added to the call-in - Art Shanks (Cypress), a speaker from the Electronic Waste Program and possibly a Labor Council representative.

Case Manager Sergio Abundis presented the results of some of the surveys taken by the participants at the end of March.

"They thought law enforcement was good to excellent and they were glad they were asked to attend for the services. Some felt that stopping violence was law enforcement's responsibility. Two felt they wouldn't be caught if they commit crimes but three out of six felt services could help them avoid violence."

Abundis has been helping clients put their DMV records in order and looking for businesses that will help YVPIAC clients complete their community hours.

Youth Employment Coordinator Fabiola Camarillo has spoken with the director of the Work Force Investment Board (WIB) about funding to pay employers to train the youth. The funding cycle is for three years; the next cycle starts in summer 2011. Proposals will be accepted in November. She is also collaborating with the Hayward Adult School to place clients; they already receive funding (a 100 percent subsidy) from the WIB.

Outreach Worker Artria Lewis noted that the call-outs went well. He attended one funeral and visited a number of hospitalized victims and their families.

Street Outreach Worker Tito Rodriguez reported the Parent Project, a program designed to help parents reconnect with their children and prevent them from becoming at-risk, is working well. The children must be 14 - 24 years old and live in Union City. Many parents want to participate but their children are too old. When asked to speak at a meeting, his message was one of tough love and taking control with strategies that parents could use to mend their relationships with their children.

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