June 8, 2010 > Youth demand a recreation center
Youth demand a recreation center
By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of COR
Over 125 youth, parents and community members from Congregations Organizing for Renewal (COR) gathered at St. Joseph's Parish on Thursday, May 27 to request a youth center in Fremont. COR is a grassroots, faith based federation of 12 congregations in south Alameda County, representing 25,000 families. Youth leaders shared stories about drug use and violence in Fremont and lifted up a vision for a comprehensive youth center in the Cabrillo Neighborhood. "There is not much to do for youth in Fremont, having a youth center will have such a positive impact on our community," said Melody Sesma, member of COR. A center that provides a physical and mental health clinic, a youth job development coordinator and has outreach workers who go into the community, helps youth who are at risk by involving them creatively into services was requested.
Youth leaders presented research stating that an overwhelming number of youth feel disconnected from Fremont services and outside of school, they wouldn't know where to access consoling, jobs, teen health care or other supportive services. "Youth have no place to call their own, a center will engage the youth in creative activities and help in suppressing gang violence," said COR member Cassandra Alvarez. COR leaders envision a youth center, modeled after Youth Uprising in Oakland.
Present from the Fremont City council were Councilmembers Anu Natarajan and Bill Harrison. "It may not happen as fast as you would like but it will happen," said Councilmember Anu Natarajan. Both councilmembers committed to pulling together a stakeholders group to begin exploring funding options once the Redevelopment Agency Cap is raised in the beginning of 2011. "I too share a vision of a Fremont where all youth are safe and have a place to go," said Councilmember Harrison.
Though Scott Haggerty's office was not in attendance, they provided a letter that was read at the event. In this letter Josh Thurman from Supervisor Haggerty's office stated that "building a multi-million dollar facility with supportive services will require a massive ongoing investment that will be no easy task based on the economic outlook for local government; however that should not discourage us from exploring every opportunity to help the youth of Fremont. In fact, I have also committed to explore every opportunity to find a small amount of seed money to jumpstart this process."