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Santa Cruz Gets PRIDE

blog_dirtLocal police and schools team up for new gang prevention program
On Wednesday, March 24, the Santa Cruz Police Department, with the support of Santa Cruz City Schools, announced plans to launch a new gang prevention program.

Modeled after a Southern California program that targets at-risk youth and their families, the Personally Responsible Individual Development in Ethics (PRIDE) program seeks to educate Santa Cruz youth about the risks of gang activity. The 10-week program will inform the adolescents and their parents about the outcomes of good and bad decision-making in an interactive way. The first five weeks will focus on the consequences of bad decisions; participants will listen to talks from former gang members and drug users and will take field trips to a state prison and local morgue. The following five weeks will concentrate on good decision-making. During the final half of the program, the students will interact with positive role models such as professional athletes and elected officials. Meanwhile, parents will learn methods to effectively support and monitor their children.

Santa Cruz gang activity has garnered increased attention recently in light of several high profile incidents, including the murder of a local high school student last fall. Furthermore, gang activity is commencing at younger ages. The PRIDE program aims to combat and alleviate early gang participation, according to SCPD Spokesman Zach Friend. The first batch of students and parents in the program will come from Branciforte and Mission Hill middle schools.

Friend noted that PRIDE’s Southern Californian predecessor has achieved success. Students who participated in the program had notably improved test scores and higher graduation rates.  Participants have also remained active in the community as volunteers. PRIDE will be the first program of its kind in Northern California and the Central Coast.

The first informational meeting for the PRIDE program was held on Tuesday, March 29. .

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Heart Me Up

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Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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