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Salinas gang prevention initiative loses funding, but not heart

Apr 21, 2010

from Sunita Vijayan's entry on the Californian.com

A pilot program aimed at ending gang violence in Salinas has run out of money, but it hasn't run out of fight.

After two years, Community Building Circles has used up the $25,000 it received from the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Program, said the group's director Deborah Aguilar on Wednesday.

"Community Building Circles has lost the funding, but [I have] not lost the passion to service the needs of the community," Aguilar said.

....In September 2008, Restorative Justice Partners Inc., the Monterey County nonprofit group that runs restorative-justice programs here, announced the creation of Community Building Circles.

The goal was to strengthen bonds of trust within east Salinas neighborhoods by holding bi-weekly meetings to discuss neighborhood issues.

The circles allowed residents to meet and discuss their thoughts and concerns about issues. The goal was to establish an atmosphere of trust and support to allow unity among each neighborhood. A circle keeper would guide each discussion and ensure participants stayed on topic.

....Meanwhile, Aguilar said, she plans to expand another effort against violence — A Time For Grieving, a support group she founded for families of homicide victims.

She said she is gearing up to seek local, state and federal funding to expand her group regionally.

The areas she plans to expand to include south Monterey County, Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

Read the whole article.

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