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Health Squad Keeps Kids Moving & Thinking

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Youth Alliance’s Health Squad, in partnership with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Pharmacy at Safeway concluded their free week-long camp last week. Students aged 10-14 learned about proper nutrition, diabetes prevention, healthy activities & physical fitness.

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Diabetes prevention is important in every community, but in San Benito County’s Latino Community, this is especially vital. Due to many factors, Latinos in San Benito County are uninsured & overweight at a higher rate than the general population. Because access to health care options are more rare, controlling the factors that cause diabetes goes a long way to cover health and financial side effects once diagnosed.

Health Squad, with the help of the ADA and Safeway Pharmacy, tackle diabetes prevention head on. Through field trips, interactive educational seminars and physical activities San Benito County youth are learning practical ways to combat diabetes.

To learn more about Health Squad and what we do, Watch our Video!

Joshua Rodriguez Memorial Fund

Josh Rodriguez Memorial Fun

Everyone at Youth Alliance would like to give our heartfelt condolences to the family of Joshua Rodriguez, following their tragic loss. This is an unspeakable tragedy and we hope to offer our support in any way possible.

Domino’s Pizza in Hollister will graciously be donating 100% of their proceeds today to the family. Thank you to Domino’s Pizza for their generosity.

Furthermore, Youth Alliance has set up a donation page for the memorial fund below. Your support will go a long way in covering costs for services.

A Little Boy With a Big Heart

From KION:

A little boy with a big heart – that’s how close friends and family describe 11-year-old Josuha Rodriguez.

“When I found out what happened, I just started crying and went straight to the hospital. And I found out he was actually gone. It was sad,” Cody Cordova

Cordova said they were together the night before Josh was killed. That’s a day Cody’s mom, Sheila Cordova, said she will never forget.

“It hurts me to see him because when he asked me he goes ‘Mom, what do I do? I lost my best friend. What am I going to do now?’” Sheila Cordova said.

Police said that just after 4 p.m. on Monday, Joshua was hit by a county bus at the intersection of Memorial Drive and Verdun Avenue. He died at the hospital. The crash was near the skate park where Cody and Joshua spent many hours together.

“I told my son (and) he goes ‘I don’t want to go to the skate park anymore, Mom.’ I said ‘you know what? I don’t think Josh would want that. I think Josh would want you to go,’” Cordova said.

Fundraising events have popped up all over the city. Next Tuesday August 4th, the Hollister Domino’s Pizza is donating all of its proceeds earned that day to the Rodriquez family.

“He was, like, the most lovable person you could ever know. If you were with him, if he was mad or sad, he would still be, like, happy. He would always help people out. We could trust him with anything,” Cody Cordova said.

Hollister police are still investigating how the crash happened. No arrests have been made. Witnesses said the bus driver jumped out to try and help Josh. The driver has not been charged.

President Obama & Juvenile Justice Reform

President Obama & Juvenile Justice Reform

During his week-long tour which culminated with the first-ever visit to a detention facility by a sitting president, Obama said he was struck by the fact that societal inequities mean that some misbehaving kids end up behind bars instead of in front of a principal’s desk.

“When they describe their youth, these are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different from the mistakes I made, and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made. The difference is that they did not have the kind of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes.”

  • “If you are a parent, you know that there are times where boys and girls are going to act out in school. And the question is: Are we letting principals and parents deal with one set of kids and we call the police on another set of kids? That’s not the right thing to do,”  Barack Obama

 The Center for Public Integrity analyzed national education data showing that black, Latino and special needs students across the country are disproportionately referred to law enforcement agencies from their schools, mostly for minor infractions.

School To Prison Pipeline

The School-To-Prison Pipeline President Obama described has serious life-outcome implications, as highlighted by the Campaign for Youth Justice fact sheet Key Facts: Youth in the Justice System. For example, “most youth are denied educational and rehabilitative services that are necessary for their stage in development when in adult facilities. A survey of adult facilities found that 40% of jails provided no educational services at all, only 11% provided special education services, and a mere 7% provided vocational training. This lack of education increases the difficulty that youth will have once they return to their communities.”

School to Prison Pipeline Infographic
The Paths to Prison for Young African-American & Latino youth often begin with the School & Foster Care System | PBS

Equally troubling, especially in San Benito & South Santa Clara County, are the wide disparities in treatment across race & ethnicity. According to America’s Invisible Children: Latino Youth and the Failure of Justice,  “Latino youth are 4% more likely to be petitioned, 16% more likely to be adjudicated delinquent, 28% more likely to be detained, and 41% more likely to receive an out-of-home placement. The most severe disparities occur for Latino youth tried in the adult system. Latino children are 43% more likely than white youth to be waived to the adult system and 40% more likely to be admitted to adult prison.”

There are alternatives to incarcerating youth, and they work. Community-based programs, including diversion programs, drug treatment, evening reporting centers, treatment clinics and family programs, have all been shown to be less costly than detention or incarceration and to help youth stay out of trouble and to not re-offend. Youth Alliance is launching pilot Restorative Justice & Youth Empowerment programs to help explore and implement some of these effective alternatives as well as currently providing youth on probation with opportunities for employment and guidance.

It is promising to see President Obama pushing for Juvenile Justice reform as well as awareness being spread to the mainstream. Hopefully, in the coming months we will begin to see concrete pushes for less punitive and more effective alternatives to Juvenile Incarceration throughout the United states.

Hollister City Council Approves $22,000 for New Youth Alliance Facility

Youth Alliance plans to build Youth Empowerment Center after raising $40,000.

The Hollister City Council approved a $22,000 contribution to Youth Alliance for a new Youth Empowerment Center. The funds were raised in the ‘80s to establish a community youth center. In March, the Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously voted to recommend to the council that the funds be allocated to the project.

Read more

Dolores Villalon Receives California Peace Award

At National Night Out Tuesday evening two local residents were honored as peace advocates in San Benito County. Assemblyman Luis Alejo selected Dolores Villalon and Robert Scattini to receive the 2013 California Peace Award along with three other residents or groups from his assembly district.

Residents of the 30th Assembly District were asked to submit names of individuals throughout the area that have gone above and beyond to promote peace. Nominations for the California Peace Award were accepted throughout July for individuals with a record of volunteerism and noteworthy accomplishments in their efforts to stop violence and create a safer community. Recipients must have had, over the past year, significantly contributed to the promotion of peace in the community. Read more

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