Photo courtesy of the City of Long Beach.
On Saturday, a group of 32 residents were cheered on by city officials at Cesar Chavez Park, celebrating their graduation from the Neighborhood Leadership Program class of 2015.
The program, established in 1992 and sponsored by the Tesoro Foundation, is conducted by the Development Services Neighborhood Services Bureau. At its core, the program is a five-month mutilingual program that “provides residents with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to tackle existing community challenges and enhance the quality of life of Long Beach neighborhoods,” according to a city release.
“Congratulations to all the graduates of our Neighborhood Leadership Program,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “Resident leaders play an important role in strengthening our neighborhoods, and they make a huge, positive difference in our City.”
The release said the program seeks to teach Long Beach residents how to improve their communication skills, create partnerships, apply for grants and create community projects, empowering them to become positive community leaders.
“I want to congratulate and thank these passionate and accomplished neighborhood leaders for their dedication to serving our community,” said Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez in a statement. “This important program provides residents with the tools needed to effectively advocate for change and transform our neighborhoods.”
This year’s graduating class completed numerous projects, including:
- A “Sustain Santa Fe” Expo held at the Long Beach Organic Mary Molina Garden, where residents can learn how to compost, conserve and recycle water.
- A Technology Fair hosted at James A. Garfield Elementary School that connected residents to resourceful mobile apps, including City of Long Beach apps to access services and report neighborhood problems.
- A “Clean & Connect” Resource Fair held at Admiral Kidd Park, where residents received useful information about resources available to maintain clean neighborhoods, participated in an E-waste recycling collection, and completed a neighborhood clean-up.
- A Safe Long Beach Public Safety Fair also hosted at Admiral Kidd Park, with more than 20 public safety information booths, including interactive displays, CPR demonstrations, free child ID bracelets, first aid kits, and more.
- Funding for this year’s program was provided by the Tesoro Foundation, which presented $10,000 to support community projects along the Santa Fe corridor. The Neighborhood Leadership Program is also funded by the Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
Safe Long Beach, the City’s Violence Prevention Plan, addresses a broad safety agenda aimed at reducing all forms of violence, including domestic abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, hate crimes, bullying, gang violence, and violent crime. Adopted by the City Council in May 2014, the Plan draws upon the City's many existing assets to target violence at its root and attain the goal of building a safer Long Beach by 2020.
To learn more about Safe Long Beach, go to www.lbvpp.com.