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CommUnify Invites the Community to Attend Youth Panel Discussion about Violence from South Coast Youth Safety Partnership on Thursday, May 23

May 23 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm PDT

Free event discusses HOPE Program featuring Keynote Speaker Calli Kelsay on how to implement positive change

WHO: CommUnify, Santa Barbara County, and the Cities of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta

WHAT: Empower Youth: Inspiring Positive Paths Forward
South Coast Youth Safety Partnership Community Event with Keynote Speaker Calli Kelsay and a Panel Discussion featuring students from YouthWell, AHA, and CommUnify’s Familias Seguras

WHEN: Thursday, May 23, 2024 ~ 1:00 – 5:00 pm

WHERE: Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Avenue, Goleta

WHY: To provide the community with important updates and collaborative ideas on how to address youth safety in the South County of Santa Barbara. The South Coast Youth Safety Partnership (SCYSP) is a regional collaborative that includes the County of Santa Barbara, and the cities of Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria along with elected officials, local government agencies and executives, law enforcement, education, faith community, philanthropic and community-based organizations, youth and parents. The mission of the SCYSP is to improve and support the safety and quality of life for youth, families, and community.

“We are looking forward to incorporating feedback from community conversations into our programs for young people,” said Natalia Alarcon, Director, Family and Youth Services for CommUnify. “At the upcoming Empower Youth: Inspiring Positive Paths Forward we will be introducing a youth panel following the keynote speaker, Calli Kelsay. It is critical that we hear directly from youth about what helps them to feel and stay safe, and what their needs in this community are.”

This special community event brings Calli Kelsay to the South Coast as Keynote Speaker. Ms. Kelsay, an ambassador for HOPE – Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences will discuss how positive experiences can ease toxic stress and help children and youth grow into more resilient, healthier adults. HOPE identifies ways our communities and systems of care can better ensure that all children have more positive experiences and that all families have support to nurture and celebrate their strengths. The Four Building Blocks of HOPE – (1) Relationships; (2) Safe, Stable, & Equitable Environments; (3) Social & Civic Engagement; and (4) Emotional Growth – provide the foundation and are the key for healthy childhood development.

The event will provide organizations and the public with the opportunity to hear directly from youths in our community through the remarkable organizations featured during the panel discussion. YouthWell is a local nonprofit whose focus is on prevention and early intervention programs for mental health and wellness education, outreach, and improving access to coordinated care in order to connect youth through age 25 and their families to resources before the crisis. AHA equips teenagers, educators, and parents with social and emotional intelligence to dismantle apathy, prevent despair, and interrupt hate-based behavior and has trained 3,500 teachers, supported 2,500 parents, and provided social- emotional education to over 54,000 teens and youth 1999. CommUnify’s Familias Seguras/Secure Families three-year pilot program is a family-centered violence prevention collaboration to address the root causes of violence in which provides wraparound services to the most vulnerable youth and families of Santa Maria to put them on a path to a healthier, more stable future and impact the community in a positive way by reducing violence. The program focuses on early intervention with fifth- and sixth-grade students in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, continuing to work with them and their families through eighth grade. The nonprofit Freedom4Youth, which teaches the culinary arts to young people, will provide food during the event. Their mission to uplift and empower youth to build safe and compassionate communities honors and fosters positive experiences as being fundamental to everyone’s health and well-being within and beyond the juvenile justice system.

The SCYSP stands in solidarity with our community in the pursuit of equity and justice. SCYSP is committed to increasing community safety while addressing the root causes of violence, the lack of
economic opportunities, and supporting systems change, as well as reducing racial and ethnic disparities. As a Partnership, SCYSP’s work extends over a decade of a collaborative effort to reduce youth and gang violence and build safe and healthy communities for our youth and their families. In continued partnership with the communities of the Central Coast’s South County region, SCYSP is commited to creating a unified response which allows community voices to be heard and acknowledged. They continue to promote the use of restorative approaches in schools, social justice in the community, and alternatives to incarceration through diversion programs and other community-focused solutions.

Event Schedule:

1:00 – 1:15 pm Guests Arrive, Meet & Greet
1:15 – 2:15 pm Keynote Speaker
2:15 – 2:30 pm Q & A Session
2:40 – 3:40 pm Youth Panel Discussion
3:40 – 4:00 pm Q & A Session
4:00 – 4:45 pm Guests can Network
4:45 – 5:00 pm Event Concludes

This event is FREE to attend, but participants should register ahead of time (or use QR code below) as capacity is limited.

Please contact Joni Kelly, Outreach & Communications Manager for CommUnify at 805-886-1869 or via email jkelly@CommUnifySB.org to schedule interviews with the panelists or Partnership members, or to request high-resolution photos. For more information about Empower Youth: Inspiring Positive Paths Forward or the South Coast Youth Safety Partnership, please visit www.youthsafetypartnership.org. The media is strongly encouraged to attend this event and advance notice would be greatly appreciated.


Goleta Valley Community Center
5679 Hollister Ave
Goleta, CA 93117 United States
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+1 805-967-1237
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