Meet the people building peace in the Alisal

Community Alliance for Safety and Peace (CASP) Director Jose Arreola
CASP Director Jose Arreola

From The Salinas CalifornianLike well-made carnitas, safety in Alisal is a complex amalgamation.

Despite his Peninsula origins, U.S. Rep. Sam Farr may have said it best: Poverty begets struggle, struggle begets desperation, desperation begets violence. And in Alisal there’s no lack of poverty.

Many will even say poverty is the root of violence not only in Alisal, but in similar communities nationwide. After all, Alisal isn’t the only disenfranchised community in the country.

But even as story upon story piles up outlining the homicides in Alisal, hope arises.

There’s hope in programs like Baktun 12, a band of Salinas residents telling Alisal’s story through youth engagement and music, and the Alisal Center for the Fine Arts, which gives children and teenagers a safe outlet for creative energy.

The Breadbox Recreation Center features dances, bands and basketball tournaments, and Cesar Chavez Library has been recently and loudly lauded for its numerous youth programs. Youth Orchestra Salinas still works with children at Jesse G. Sanchez Elementary School on North Sanborn Road.

Una Guía Comunitaria Útil

Salinas Police Department Community Guide“Nuestros niños merecen un futuro que esté libre de violencia. Nosotros estamos trabajando juntos para darles un futuro así.”

¿Qué pueden hacer para ayudar a mantener sus hijos y nuestra comunidad seguros? Hágale un clic para bajar la versión en Español o Inglés de esta muy útil guía comunitaria (Formato PDF) del Departamento de Policía de Salinas.

Recuerde que la policía arresta solamente cuando no hay otra solución. Es mucho mejor que los niños crezcan contentos, saludables y libres de las pandillas y el Departamento de Policía de Salinas quiere ayudar a que esto suceda.

Robert Reyes: Treatment, Not Prison for At-Risk Youth

Silver Star manager Robert ReyesFrom the Salinas Californian: When you think about probation, you probably think of law enforcement. But in Monterey County, it’s about that and much more — including preventing crime from happening in the first place.

That’s thanks to the Silver Star Resource Center, an innovative partnership of the Probation Department and social service agencies.

Silver Star seeks to reduce juvenile delinquency through treatment. In the following interview, Silver Star manager Robert Reyes explains how the program saves young people’s lives — while also saving taxpayers’ money.

What makes the Silver Star Resource Center unique?

We look at risk factors in five areas: family, community, school, individual and peer group. Then we work together as a collaborative to provide services that will reduce those risk factors. Nine agencies are housed at Silver Star: California Youth Outreach; Second Chance Youth and Family Services; Partners for Peace; the Office of Employment Training; Children’s Behavioral Health; Monterey County Probation Dept.; DA Truancy Abatement Program; Community of Human Services, Monterey; and the Monterey County Office of Education.

Manny Aguilar: Leading Children Away from Gangs

Manny Aguilar, California Youth OutreachFrom the Salinas Californian: How do you help a child who’s already in trouble? Manny Aguilar will tell you it begins by becoming someone that child can accept and count on. Here he talks about his work as a gang intervention specialist with California Youth Outreach and the power of simply being a consistent, positive influence.

Q: Who does California Youth Outreach serve?

A: Our main focus is to work with those youth who are in gang-related situa- tions, whether they are gang members or on the cusp of becoming gang members. We try to intervene, to give them the opportunity to move out of that lifestyle. We work with the kids who are placed either at Juvenile Hall or the Youth Center.

Kristan Lundquist: How Community Centers Build Peace

Article: How community centers build peaceThis interview was conducted for the Salinas Californian by CASP Volunteer Rachel Vallarta Davidson. You can find the full video interview here.

Building relationships. It sounds so simple, but it can make all the difference to a child, a family and the whole community -- especially by reducing violence. So says Kristan Lundquist, who knows first-hand through her work with the City’s five neighborhood centers as a Community Service Manager.

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