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Local agencies honored for contributions to Teen Violence Prevention Program

June 21, 2001|By VANESSA DE LA TORRE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The Imperial Valley Teen Violence Prevention Program staged a recognition ceremony Wednesday honoring local agencies that contributed to the second annual Youth Prevention Conference on April 28.

The conference was called "Transforming Communities Through Our Youth 2001."

The ceremony was in the San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus library.

Addressing the crowd were Al Merino, associate dean of SDSU-IV; Barbara M. Shaver, executive director for the Center of Family Solutions; and county Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony Tirado, the ceremony's honored guest.

Frank M. Marquez, associate director of violence prevention services at the Center for Family Solutions, presented certificates of commendation to the program's collaborative members who spearheaded the youth endeavor.

Agencies honored include the Calexico Family Resource Center, Calexico Housing Authority, Calexico Police Department, Calexico Unified School District, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, Imperial County Behavioral Health Service's alcohol and drug department, the county Office of Education, the county Probation Department and Sheriff's Office and Radio Bilingüe.

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The groups received certificates of appreciation from the office of Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who learned about the ceremony and the efforts of those involved with last month's conference.

With the support of the California Violence Prevention Initiative, the conference featured Assemblyman Tony Cardenas, chairman of the state's violence prevention programs, as its keynote speaker. He traveled from his district in the San Fernando Valley and spoke to the largely Hispanic audience about his early struggles as an impoverished youth.

Francisco Salazar, youth coordinator for Radio Bilingüe, stated such a ceremony was needed to "put faces together" of those who have helped in arranging events such as the youth conference.

Said county Chief Probation Officer Michael W. Kelley: "Imperial County is leading the entire state in its collaborative efforts in working together for the benefit of the youth and the community in our area."

He added his agency has provided many probation officers to work closely with every school and every district for that purpose.

Furthermore, Kelley said the tone of Wednesday's gathering "was that not one agency can do it, but it takes the cooperation of all agencies to accomplish our goal of ensuring that every youth becomes a responsible citizen of the community and a successful individual."

Salazar encouraged any organization that wishes to partake in youth-oriented activities to contact him at 337-8051.

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