Santa Maria city officials have issued a call to action seeking volunteers wanting to work toward making positive changes for youth in the Santa Maria Valley.
On Nov. 21, the Santa Maria City Council adopted the Santa Maria Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety’s strategic plan.
The plan lays out a framework for city and community leaders to come together, connect those in need with important resources and craft programs and projects to work to improve the quality of life for young people and their families.
“We are asking individuals to get involved: Sign up for a mentorship. Support the program by volunteering your time and effort,” Recreation and Parks Department Director Alex Posada explained.
The 39-page document, titled “Together for Youth and Families Strategic Plan,” has four main elements -- prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry after incarceration (PIER).
City leaders are asking for volunteers who want to work on programs in one of those element areas to come forward.
“Each of those groups are going to meet and it’s likely that each they will splinter off as they begin to focus on specific focuses -- jobs, faith, bike repair," explained Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stilwell.
A main focus for all element areas, Posada said, will be youth employment programs.
“We want to work to find jobs that youth can perform to give them a little spending money in their pockets,” Posada added.
The PIER groups will meet and create programs and projects aimed at meeting desired outcomes.
The plan wants to work to increase a sense of pride in the community; create informed and involved parents, educators and care providers; reduce violent crimes; and reduce recidivism rates, among others.
The "Together for Youth and Families Strategic Plan" also lays out a framework of nine supporting objectives to support the work of the PIER groups. Among them are creating a specialized team of law enforcement personnel to suppress gang activity in the city; collaborating and sharing with data and intelligence about violent offenders; and creating a more prescriptive re-entry plan for young offenders.
Anyone wishing to volunteer to support the strategic plan should contact the Recreation and Parks Department at 925-0951, ext. 2269 or 2157.