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Gus Frias Appointed to Lead South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs

Newly hired coordinator brings a range of experience helping steer students from violence

After an extensive recruitment, the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County has selected Dr. Gus Frias to tackle the problem of youth gangs in Santa Barbara and on the South Coast.

Dr. Gus Fria
Dr. Gus Fria

The task force coordinator position is the result of a two-year effort headed by the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs. The coordinator position is funded from contributions from Santa Barbara County, the City of Santa Barbara, the City of Goleta, the City of Carpinteria and the Community Action Commission.

Frias bested a field of 80-plus applicants from coast to coast. He grew up in East Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Garfield High School, USC and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Throughout his life, Frias has dedicated his talents to write books and develop programs that teach students how to replace self-destruction with a commitment to life and higher education. For example, he is the author of Leaders and Achievers and is the coordinator of the Students and The Police project.

Frias’ work experience includes stints as a management analyst for the Los Angeles Police Department, program manager for the Orange County Department of Education and academic specialist for the United States Information Agency.

He also has served on violence prevention advisory committees for the California Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the U.S. Department of Education.

He also participated as a national finalist in the White House Fellowships Program.

Before his new position, Frias served as coordinator of school safety programs for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. In that position, he helped educators develop comprehensive violence prevention initiatives to make schools safe and successful learning environments.

— Fran Forman is executive director of the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County.


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