October 11, 2010

Leaders with the Tulare County Gang Prevention Task Force and the Terra Bella Union School District today announced plans for the first Step Up event to be held in southeast Tulare County.

The Step Up Terra Bella Community Summit will be held from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010 at Carl Smith Middle School, located at 23825 Ave. 92 in Terra Bella.

“We want parents in the Terra Bella area to better understand how to deal with the gang issue,” said Frank Betry, Terra Bella Union School District Superintendent. “We also want to reach parents and students and teach them the skills to avoid being entangled with gangs.”

Tulare County Supervisor Mike Ennis, who represents Terra Bella, said the gang awareness summit's goal is to inspire families in Terra Bella, Richgrove, and Ducor to live violence- and drug-free lifestyles, pursue educational achievement and connect to their community in a positive manner.

“Step Up gang awareness summits are a great tool to promote a community-wide dialogue regarding the gang, drug, and violence issues that plaque some of Tulare County’s unincorporated communities,” Supervisor Ennis said. “The Board of Supervisors is proud to assist communities battle these problems that impact so many people.”

The Step Up summit seeks to empower parents and youth with techniques provided by motivational speakers, who will host separate workshops focused around messages targeting youth and adults. Organizers have arranged for a resource fair staffed by more than 15 community-based organizations, local government agencies and faith-based groups who will provide information to parents and youth. Participants will have opportunities to sign up and volunteer with various organizations in their community.

Some of the guest speakers include: Bob Perez of Porterville; former Porterville city councilman and current Woodville school district trustee Pete Martinez; and representatives of the Tulare County Probation Department.

The Step Up Terra Bella Community Summit is a collaborative project developed by the Tulare County Gang Prevention Task Force - a regional coalition made up of the general public, media, local businesses, faith-based organizations, non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, schools, local government and law enforcement agencies.

If you are interested in attending, volunteering, or other forms of support, please contact Jed Chernabaeff at the Tulare County Board of Supervisors Office at (559) 636-5000 or email stepuptc@co.tulare.ca.us