Safe Passages: Building Communities, Reducing Violence
Mayor Robert Garcia joined West Long Beach Community leaders to launch the Safe Passages Program. The program employs Community Safety Ambassadors to monitor key high risk corners on Santa Fe Corridor before, during, and after-school commute times.
The Tesoro Foundation awarded 330,000 dollars for 2 years to the West Long Beach Safe Passages program which begins August 29th. PalacioMagazine.com was at Admiral Kidd Park in West Long Beach for the press conference announcements.
The Importance of Safe Passages
The Santa Fe Corridor Safe Passages initiative is coordinated by Centro CHA, Padres on a Mission and Love and Justice Youth Campaign.
According to Centro CHA, the ability of low-income to succeed academically depends heavily on environmental factors outside the school walls. One of those factors is a safe environment and safe routes for the students to and from school.
“Unfortunately, for many students in an urban and economically depressed environment,” a news release stated, “the daily commute to and from school represents a risky undertaking riddled with potential violence and crime.”
Safe Passages and Academic Success
The organizers go on to explain that “..the presence of high youth violence, crime, and a lack of safety factors around schools has the potential to result in increased absenteeism as well as increased levels of stress among students.”
According to the organizers, those factors can contribute to “..decreased academic performance and future opportunities to thrive…” Young people welcome the security that comes with safety so they can focus on their academic success.
Walking the Safe Passages Beat
Safety Ambassadors and volunteers receive training on safe routes, observation skills, and conflict resolution skills. They also learn report writing and appropriate behaviors for interacting with students and residents.
The Ambassadors walk along the Santa Fe Corridor to ensure that students get to school. The benefits include improving school attendance and graduation success.
Each school day, the Ambassadors wear neon vests and photo identification so children can easily identify them. They work 7am to 9am and 1pm to 4pm. Along their assigned routes, they observe, document, and report suspicious or alarming activity. They’re also able to use the Go Long Beach app to report graffiti, beautification or other code enforcement issues.
More on Safe Passages
For more information about the Safe Passages program or how to become a Community Safety Ambassador, contact Francisco Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Centro CHA at 562-612-4180.