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Project Heroes to Hold Bilingual Forum to Address Youth Violence in Latino Community

After a series of traumatic incidents and suicides involving the Latino youth in Santa Barbara County, the ongoing efforts to address violence and raise awareness remains a top priority. As a result of the community’s effort to help the Latino youth thrive and succeed, Project Heroes/Proyecto Héroes, a community-based participatory research program led by Drs. Maryam Kia-Keating (UC Santa Barbara) and Jessica Adams (director of psychology and training at CALM, Child Abuse Listening Mediation), and the Pro-Youth Movement are presenting a Bilingual Community Forum, “This is our Community: These are our Children” at the First United Methodist Church from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 to address the effects of violence exposure and focus on improving the lives of the Latino community.

“Addressing the impact of trauma and violence in our Latino community is a key factor to violence prevention,” said Cecilia Rodriguez, executive director of CALM. “As community leaders, we must recognize all factors that interfere with helping our youth succeed both academically and socially. Through these discussions, we are able foster grass roots solutions and put an end to youth violence.”

The community forum will open a dialogue to share perspectives of parents, youth and community members concerned with increasing safety and reducing the trauma and violence exposure of local Latino youth.

Several keynote speakers will lead the panel discussions, including: Cathy Murillo of the Santa Barbara City Council, Cynthia Cruz and Jazmin Narisco of Project Heroes Youth Photovoice who will introduce and show the video VISUAL+ize: A Photovoice Project; Mitch Torina, assistant superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District; and Dr. Victor Rios, associate professor in sociology at UC Santa Barbara.

“The goal of this forum is to bring people together to learn from their experiences and identify possible solutions,” Adams said. “We encourage all community members to come and share your visions for change.”

The forum has rallied unprecedented community support from many leading local agencies, including the Community Action Commission, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, CALM, Domestic Violence Solutions, FEN, Isla Vista Youth Projects, Just Communities, La Casa De La Raza, The Promotores Network, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, SB City Council, SB Police Department, SB Response Network, SB Unified School District, South Coast Youth Gang Task Force, UCSB, and Youth and Family Services YMCA.

The bilingual Community Forum will be held at First United Methodist Church, at 305 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara. The event is free and open to the public. Lunch and child care will be provided. For more information about the community forum or CALM, please call 805.965.2376.

CALM was founded in 1970 to reach stressed parents before they hurt their children. CALM continues to be the only non-profit agency in Santa Barbara County focusing solely on preventing, assessing, and treating child abuse and family violence through comprehensive, cutting-edge programs. CALM offers children, families, and adults a safe, nonjudgmental, caring and strength-based environment to heal and increase family well-being.

For more information about all of CALM’s services, please call 805.965.2376 or click here.

— Rachael Jerse is a publicist representing CALM.

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