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Commentary by Bob Kellar
| Thursday, Sep 12, 2013

bobkellar2012We too often read about it in the news but you may be surprised to learn that issues like depression, suicide, abuse, neglect, bullying, drugs, alcohol and pregnancy are affecting many of our local youth, right here in Santa Clarita. As a community, we try to work together to address these needs, provide guidance and support and help our children through difficult times.

We have been fortunate to have a local non-profit organization whose mission is to be there for our kids and make sure they get the “help, not hassle” they need. It is the SCV Youth Project with Kim Goldman as the executive director, along with a dedicated board of directors.

Founded in January 2000 in response to a city-sponsored needs assessment of local youth, the SCV Youth Project opened to over 32,000 teens and their families, on 13 local junior high and high school campuses in the Santa Clarita Valley. Services are available to all youth, 12-18, within the William S. Hart School District, regardless of socio or economic background.

All of the services provided to youth are free and include: peer mentoring, support groups, crisis intervention, classroom presentations, parenting education and support, teen employment assistance, educational assistance and family mediation.

scvyouthprojectRight now the SCV Youth Project needs our help. Relying primarily on donations, fundraisers and grants, the Youth Project is in dire need of financial support to continue these vital services for our youth. The need for these services continues to grow while funding has gone down. I am very proud of the work the Youth Project has done in helping our youth, partnering with other agencies, bringing in college interns and reducing expenditures, but the fact remains: Without our financial support, they are in peril of cutting these important services.

Here are a few recent examples of how the SCV Youth Project has helped our kids:

* Assistance with multiple family issues, which include divorce, blended families or violence in the home.

* Helping youth who engage in “cutting” or other self harming behaviors, find more effective ways to cope.

* Educating teens on the dangers of internet predators and online bullying.

* Support offered to teens dealing with grief and loss within their families.

In closing, I want to share with you the words of Kim Goldman: “The success for us is when the student shows up to the sessions, or group, and opens their heart. Our job is never to “cure” a kid, it’s to give them the tools they need to make healthy decisions on their own, to teach them how to cope and how to navigate through difficult times. We measure success by the stories we hear… the courage we see, and the hope that is renewed…I want families to know that we help kids in EVERY state of mind … from study skills to coping skills, and there is NO SHAME in any of it.”

Please join me in supporting the SCV Youth Project; this program is too important for our community’s youth to be ignored. Please contact Kim Goldman at www.helpnothassle.org. You can send your tax deductible donations to: SCV Youth Project, P.O. Box 801982 Santa Clarita, CA  91380-1982.

Thank you for your help.

 

Bob Kellar is mayor of the city of Santa Clarita.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Judy says:

    I am sure if you welcomed and mentioned the LGBTQ community youth whose suicide rate is higher than any other youth because of bullying, you might raise more funding from individuals like me and the dozens of families I know who deal with this issue on a regular basis.

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