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Edwin Weaver, executive director of Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, left, talks about substance use by teens as Britt Stanley of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, right, and the audience listen during a "neighbors helping neighbors" presentation by Santa Maria's All-America City Committee in 2015.

Len Wood, Staff

The Santa Maria Historical Society will delve into the history of an organization fighting for the Santa Maria Valley.

Edwin Weaver, executive director of Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, will be the monthly guest speaker at the Valley Speaks event at 11 a.m. Saturday in Shepard Hall at the Santa Maria Public Library. Weaver's talk will focus on the hope of resiliency. 

Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley was founded in 2003 by a group of concerned organizations and community members who were alarmed by the impact of drugs and alcohol on the Santa Maria Valley’s young people and their families.

“The nonprofit’s focus has since extended to include violence and promoting a general safe environment for the community,” said Shirley Contreras, of the Historical Society.

Weaver moved with his family to the Central Coast in 2010 to serve the community as a child welfare supervisor.

“He saw records of many families devastated by the impact of substance abuse, untreated mental health issues and community violence," Contreras said. "Something needed to be done, but what and how?”

In 2014, Weaver jumped at the opportunity to work at preventing the trends he was seeing when he became the executive director for Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley.

Weaver earned a master’s degree in social welfare from UCLA and a master’s in theology from Fuller Seminary.

He has served as a pastor, a social worker, school counselor, mentor and youth worker and currently serves on the Governor’s Children’s Justice Act Task Force, Santa Barbara’s Justice Task Force, the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Justice Commission, the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety and the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

He is also co-chair of the Santa Maria School Attendance Review Board, board member of Martha’s Meals and is the Tobacco Use Prevention Education coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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“In short, he has dedicated his life to helping families and is committed to helping families who are not being successful find their way,” Contreras said.

Earlier this year, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley was recognized by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham as the 35th District's nonprofit of the year at the capital building in Sacramento.

Valley Speaks, a free monthly event organized by the Historical Society, takes place on the second Saturday of the month. Since seating is limited and attendees are urged to arrive early.

For more information, call the Historical Museum at 922-3130.

Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.

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