The City of King’s last Council meeting represents a major new investment the City is making in the community’s youth, which is possible through a number of partnerships that have been established. A series of items were approved, which are directed at helping our youth to be safe, happy and successful.
The most significant effort is a new extensive after-school expanded learning program that will be launched in the Fall at elementary school sites, which is a partnership with the King City Union School District and ProYouth, a non-profit organization based in Visalia. The initial start-up program will serve a minimum of 180 children at Santa Lucia and Del Rey schools, but the goal is to expand it within the next couple years to be available to all elementary school children. This effort is a top priority of the City because studies consistently show that the most effective way to prevent gang activity is to help provide children a strong educational foundation by the 3rd grade, particularly in language and reading. Children lacking those basic skills by that age are more likely to begin to struggle in other subjects, become disengaged with school and the community, and then be more susceptible to gang recruitment. Fundraising efforts are under way. The more funds that can be raised, the more children can be included in the initial program. Donation forms can be found on the City’s website at www.kingcity.com.
A contract was approved for a Probation Department on-campus officer to be assigned to the King City High School and Chalone Peaks Middle School. The objective will be to have an officer on campus to work with youth on a proactive basis to redirect students in a positive direction that are beginning to show signs of problems. The new position was made possible by a multi-jurisdiction partnership, which is proposed to be co-funded by the Monterey County Probation Department, the City of King, the South County Joint Union High School District, and the King City Union School District.
A daytime curfew ordinance was also introduced by the City Council. The ordinance would prohibit school aged youth to be in public places during school hours except in exceptions established for specified activities approved by the schools, parents, or for home-schooled children. The objective of the ordinance is to provide the Police Department an additional tool to approach youth during school hours to help keep youth in school, reduce truancy, prevent gang activity, and avoid other activities that can lead to gang involvement.
Meanwhile, the City Council also approved a contract for the addition of a playground at Forden Park. The project is the culmination of an extensive fundraising effort by “Fun”ds for Forden. The City will be using development impact fee funds to pay for construction of the walkway and play surface. The “Fun”ds for Forden moneys will purchase and install the play equipment. Thanks to Sharlene Hughes, who headed the fundraising effort, and all those from the community who generously contributed.
Finally, a new fundraiser to support these efforts was also approved. On June 17th, the City will partner with Fort Hunter Liggett, the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, and the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds to hold the First Annual Freedom Gala. The formal event will be held at the Orradre Building at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds and will honor the military and celebrate the 242nd Birthday of the United States Army. Tickets are now on sale for $50 per person and all proceeds will benefit military families and the King City Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence.
For more information on these and other efforts, please visit the City’s website at www.kingcity.com or contact City Hall at 385-3281.