More then 200 community members were in attendance at the 2nd Annual Celebrate the Eighth Event hosted by Councilmember Al Austin at the Expo Arts Center in Long Beach, California.
Councilmember Al Austin created this event as a way to acknowledge the accomplishments from the past year that District 8 residents have contributed to the City of Long Beach.
This year Crittenton Services for Children and Families (CSCF) was bestowed this award of recognition by Al Austin’s office as a thank you for the commitment our agency has shown in serving the Long Beach community.
“Crittenton has been proud to work with, and be represented by, Councilman Al Austin who was elected in 2012. In his time in office, he’s enthusiastically worked with his constituency, with a major focus on the youth in District 8. His staff, specifically Melody and Monique have a deep appreciation for Crittenton’s mission and regularly work alongside our staff in various stakeholder groups and community based efforts,” said Martha Jasso, Director of Communications, CSCF, “In addition, what was most humbling in receiving this award towards the end of March 2015 was that in coincided with National Child Abuse Prevention Month a yearly awareness campaign our agency very much believes in. We wholeheartedly practice child abuse prevention efforts in all of our programs and appreciate the Long Beach community’s commitment to protecting children and youth.”
Among the this year’s honorees that were recognized for their extraordinary public service to the City of Long Beach included: Long Beach Unified School District Board Member, Megan Kerr; Founder of Justice for Murdered Children, LaWanda Hawkins; and the Bret Harte Elementary School Student Council.
However, Crittenton is also well aware that much still needs to get done in Long Beach, Calif. A recent special report from the Long Beach Press Telegram indicated that Long Beach’s poorest zip code, 90813, which is an area of Long Beach at the doorstep of the downtown district, is also considered the city’s deadliest. Meaning this zip code ranked worst in terms of homicides and the rate of unsolved cases.
According to the Press Telegram this area in Long Beach is made up of residents who live at the margins with high rates of poverty, high rates of unemployment, with the lowest median household income, the least amount of education, and sadly the city’s youngest area with a median age of 27 years of age.
Statistics that our agency is well aware of as Crittenton community based and wraparound family services program staff typically works with Los Angeles County based families experiencing these socioeconomic factors.
Despite grim statistics coming out of the City of Long Beach the Press Telegram did mention some hope. Richard Rocchi, deputy police chief of the Long Beach Police Department, was quoted as saying that the neighborhood, like the rest of the city, has seen a drop in crime, in particular murder rates, in recent years since the statistics were first compiled back in 1969. The main reason for the decrease in crime, Rocchi commented, was due stronger community partnerships.
Child abuse and violence prevention are the many social issues various non-profits, which includes, Crittenton, will continue to tackle in the Long Beach area, such as in the form of the annual “Youth Exploitation and Safety Symposium” geared for the youth and families of Long Beach to help curtail child abuse and exploitation.
Crittenton agrees with deputy police chief Rocchi that with lasting and sincere community partnerships in the form of say early childhood intervention strategies we as a community can help reduce barriers towards individual and economic empowerment down the road.
“As a Long Beach based non-profit we realize that change takes time to happen when dealing with income inequality, gang violence, and childhood trauma. We very much believe in supporting legislation and local initiatives that do address community mental health issues, in particular children’s mental health, on behalf of the children and families we advocate for. And as a local stakeholder, Crittenton will continue to encourage, Long Beach city officials to invest in early childhood trauma intervention and treatment as it can significantly help lessen the need for expensive and grim back-end solutions to crime, which often includes incarceration. We believe in the City of Long Beach and happy to support our community live a happy and healthy way of life, ” said Jasso.
- Long Beach’s poorest zip code also one of its deadliest, Long Beach Press Telegram
- LA Crime Stoppers Website
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, medical, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound, mental health, foster care, adoption services, and transitional aged youth services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.