El Sol runs our first Spanish language interview: Anahi Amador of Voices For Children

Anahi Amador of Voices for Children Monterey CountyRecently, CASP's Rosemary Soto interviewed Anahi Amador (pictured) about her work as the Advocate Supervisor at Voices For Children of Monterey County.

We're especially excited because it's the first of our interviews to be conducted in Spanish!

It was published in the Sept 6, 2013 issue of El Sol, the sister newspaper of The Californian, where our English interviews appear.

Click here to find it at El Sol's web site.

Thanks to El Sol editor Valentin Mendoza for his support!

Rancho Cielo grads build firm foundation

From the Monterey Herald: Rancho Cielo students on Thursday received what once seemed impossible: their high school or GED diplomas. "We were the mess-ups, the low men on the totem pole, the dropouts," Martin Montoya told family, friends, staff and students at the graduation ceremony for Rancho Cielo's YouthBuild construction program.

A ceremony for Rancho Cielo's culinary academy graduates was held earlier Thursday.

"Leaving high school is a huge transition in our lives and none of us know what the world has in store for us," Montoya said. "I do know, however, that we have now been given the tools to deal with those life events."

Rancho Cielo is a school and social services center in Salinas that provides educational opportunities and job training for at-risk youth in Monterey County.

Rancho Cielo loses out on grant

From the Monterey Herald: The Rancho Cielo construction program in Salinas has been called the "rock star" of the YouthBuild programs nationwide.

Yet when it came to funding the program, Rancho Cielo didn't getting paid to do another encore.

Officials at YouthBuild — a federal program where at-risk youth work toward their GED or high school diplomas while learning job skills by building affordable housing — have told Rancho Cielo that after two years it is "getting the best results, it is the most smoothly and most professionally run program," said Executive Director Susie Brusa.

This year, however, Rancho Cielo did not receive the $1.1 million U.S. Department of Labor YouthBuild grant it was expecting.

Purnell: Growing community, one soccer game at a time

Carissa PurnellFrom the Salinas Californian -- Since 2010, a free soccer program run out of the Cesar Chavez Library has taught young people the basics of the game, like passing and formation — and much more, including how to communicate and develop team rapport. Dubbed “Biblioteca Cesar Chavez Futbol Club,” [more information here (PDF)] the program was started by Carissa Purnell, the Salinas Library technology manager, with key assistance since the beginning from two CSUMB students.

It has become “an amazing thing,” says Purnell. In addition to playing soccer, “students develop English skills on the field, they develop writing skills through handouts and exercises, and they break territorial lines to join in a common cause.”

In the following interview, she describes how the club came to be and to grow, and the difference it’s making across the community.

Georgina Mendoza: Exposure to violence harms children

Salinas Community Safety Director and CASP Director Georgina MendozaFrom the Salinas Californian: We’re all horrified at the thought of children suffering violence directly. But what many of us don’t realize is that simply being exposed to violence can harm a child for life — and impose huge costs on the community.

According to a recently released report, childhood exposure to violence, or CEV, is a national crisis, affecting about two out of every three American children.

The report follows a year of work by the US Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, co-chaired by baseball great Joe Torre and Justice Department administrator Robert Listenbee Jr.

Among the members of that task force was Georgina Mendoza, Community Safety Director for the City of Salinas. In the following interview, Mendoza describes the urgent need to address CEV both nationally and locally.

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