Friday, September 17, 2021

Antioch Council moves forward with initiative to create jobs for troubled youth

After a short council discussion on Tuesday, a proposal to clean up Antioch’s trouble spots by helping drive young offenders off the streets went ahead.

Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who pushed the proposal at a news conference on Monday, said he knew Antioch’s drug and gang issues would not disappear overnight, but that he would begin work to establish youth development programming, including jobs and apprenticeships. Want, so as to try to stay upset. Youth on the streets.

“This is an exciting opportunity to build on the already existing city internship program,” Thorpe said, adding that he wants to start in the Sycamore Drive corridor, where crime has been rampant for decades.

The city budgeted $800,000 for youth development programming, and this summer began a city internship for youths 18 to 24. However, this new program will be designed for youths involved in illegal activities, who are trying to keep them off the streets by giving them city apprenticeships. or job.

Thorpe also proposed partnering with the Contra Costa Probation Department to provide wrap-around services in the crime-ridden Sycamore Square shopping center, where drug dealing has been common.

“This is a matter that employees already have a right to do,” Meyer said. “… I just want to make sure that the Council agrees to proceed in this direction.”

Councilor Mike Barbanica, a former policeman, said he supports the concept.

“Whatever we can do to help the youth in the community, obviously I am there for them,” he said.

“The question is, is this just the beginning in this area,” he asked. “…then other areas within the community could split that money and spend it in other places, but I support activities and programs in that (Sycamore Corridor) area.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchok said she is looking forward to a “big conversation” on the issues and the city is reaching out to programs that already work with youth.

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Councilwoman Monica Wilson thanked Thorpe for taking the proposal forward.

“Providing on the job training, providing counseling services and mentoring in any number of services that youth in these particular areas need, you know, even if they don’t have access to transportation,” she said.

Thorpe said he envisioned the staff coming back to the council after designing a “portfolio of ideas”.

But councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, who represents District 1, where most of the city’s crime takes place, cautioned that the program’s youth will be tailored for specific needs and that experts in the field will be consulted before designing anything. should be consulted.

“It’s a really tough job and it needs to be well thought out,” she said.

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Torres-Walker also said that she thinks the council’s Violence Prevention and Intervention Ad-hoc Committee, of which she is a member, should be involved in planning a program geared toward troubled youth.

Although Thorpe said he appreciated the idea, the current Youth Services Network manager, Tasha Johnson, is an expert in dealing with youth intervention programs and that she didn’t want to get bogged down in bureaucracy and delay the process.

“I have full confidence in his (Johnson’s) ability to do the job and find the right partner at the table with our city manager and other appropriate staff,” he said.

However, Walker said she also wanted to hear from community members who live in disturbed areas.

“I think in order to buy from a community, that community has to be involved in the process,” she said. “So whatever we can do to expand the conversation, make sure it’s intentionally done for this particular population that’s involved.”

Antioch Council moves forward with initiative to create jobs for troubled youth
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