June 4, 2010 > Youth demand a Center in Fremont
Youth demand a Center in Fremont
By Meenu Gupta
Photos By courtesy of COR
Over 125 youth, parents and community members from Congregations Organizing for Renewal (COR) gathered at St. Joseph's Parish on Thursday, May 27 to request a youth center in Fremont. COR is a grassroots, faith based federation of 12 congregations in south Alameda County, representing 25,000 families. Youth leaders shared stories about drug use and violence in Fremont and described a vision for a comprehensive youth center in the Cabrillo Neighborhood. "There is not much to do for youth in Fremont, having a youth center will have such a positive impact on our community," said Melody Sesma, member of COR.
A center to provide a physical and mental health clinic, a youth job development coordinator and outreach workers to help at risk youth was requested. Youth leaders presented research stating that an overwhelming number of youth feel disconnected from Fremont services and outside of school, they do not know where to access counseling, jobs, teen health care or other supportive services. "Youth have no place to call their own; a center will engage the youth in creative activities and help in suppressing gang violence," said COR member Cassandra Alvarez. COR leaders envision a youth center, modeled after Youth Uprising in Oakland.
Present from the Fremont City council were Councilmember Anu Natarajan and Councilmember Bill Harrison. "It may not happen as fast as you would like but it will happen," said Councilmember Anu Natarajan. Both council members committed to putting together a stakeholders group to begin exploring funding options once the Redevelopment Agency Cap is raised in 2011. "I too share a vision of a Fremont where all youth are safe and have a place to go," said Councilmember Harrison.
Though a representative of Scott Haggerty's office was not in attendance, a letter from his office was read. Josh Thurman from Supervisor Haggerty's office stated, "Building a multi-million dollar facility with supportive services will require a massive ongoing investment that will be no easy task based on the economic outlook for local government, however that should not discourage us from exploring every opportunity to help the youth of Fremont. In fact, I have also committed to explore every opportunity to find a small amount of seed money to jumpstart this process."