The highest priority in the City’s Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence is the development of an expanded after-school program at elementary school sites. Studies have shown the most effective way to address gang violence is to provide youth ages Kindergarten to 4th grades the tools to be successful. If they do not have the foundation of reading and language by that age, it will impede their ability to succeed in other subjects, increase the likelihood they will disengage from school and the community, and make them vulnerable to gangs and negative influences.
The City of King and King City Union School District are partnering with ProYouth to offer their HEART program to King City schools. HEART stands for Health, Enrichment, Academics, Recreation and Teamwork. ProYouth, a non-profit organization based in Visalia, has developed an extensive and successful program during the past 25 years. The ProYouth HEART program will offer students healthy behavior activities, (nutrition and recreation), enrichment pathways (ag science and culinary arts, computer science and engineering, and the arts), homework assistance and tutoring, multicultural awareness, and leadership development. These activities are all based upon what data has shown will be effective in increasing student success and reducing youth violence and gang activity.
Preparations to initiate the program at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year are under way, which will be offered to Santa Lucia and Del Rey elementary schools. The overall goal is to expand the program to be available to all King City elementary school children within the next few years. Currently, ProYouth is recruiting program leaders, teachers and volunteers. Applications for students are also being accepted. Please contact Juan Valencia at 559-731-5616 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to become involved or to find out how to enroll your children.
The program will be funded from a combination of grants, City and School District funds, and community fundraising efforts. Over $100,000 has been raised from community contributions. This has enabled the program to be expanded from an initial goal of 180 to 280 children the first year, which is a great beginning.
The City extends its deepest gratitude to all the generous people in the community that made this possible:
Fresh Foods, Inc
Community Foundation for Monterey County
Susan and David Gill
Big Valley Labor
Rotary Club of King City
Holaday Seed Company
John and Janet Buttgereit
Chris and Kathy Davis
South Monterey County Republican Women Federated
Bill and Holly Casey
Charles and Suzanne Krause
Jerry and Paulette Bumbalough
Steve and Rose Adams
Contributions are still being accepted to expand and extend the program. For more information, please contact City Hall at 385-3281.