Santa Rosa Mayor Ernesto Olivares and other members of public and private agencies in Santa Rosa met recently with Colusa County representatives to discuss strategies for involving the community in creating and maintaining opportunities for youth. Mayor Olivares has been very supportive of efforts in Colusa County to increase awareness, prevention, intervention, and suppression activities to address gang issues.
Santa Rosa’s plan has been operating since 2002. It was developed after a major incident involving gangs triggered a comprehensive effort to involve city departments and community organizations in combating the negative influence of gang involvement. The Santa Rosa plan, with the theme “Reclaiming Our Youth,” has utilized grants and other fundraising to support the creation of youth programs and interventions. The progress is slow, but the data shows that the plan is working.
The special meeting with Colusa County representatives generated discussion of specific ideas about getting the community involved, and helped develop the agenda for the Partners In Education forum to be held in Colusa County later this month.
Colusa County Office of Education has been spearheading the development and implementation of a Scope of Work to address gang issues for more than two years. The Scope is being implemented and will be stronger as more people become involved. Ed Conrado, Assistant Superintendent, has been meeting with agencies to strengthen the collaboration between law enforcement, public service, and education. Each partner is contributing to providing “Options for Youth: Building Strong, Safe and Healthy Communities.”
County Superintendent Kay Spurgeon said, “We want to be proactive in involving the community in supporting our youth with positive opportunities and activities. We don’t want to be reactive after a tragic event. Mayor Olivares and the others involved in Santa Rosa’s efforts have been very generous with their time, ideas and resources to help us move our efforts forward and, hopefully, avoid a major tragedy.”
Anyone who wishes to have a presentation made to a group or community organization should contact the County Office at 458-0350.