By Supervisor Todd Spitzer, (Portions courtesy Anaheim Community Foundation)
(Anaheim, CA) – A report on at-risk youth in Anaheim finds that many who could benefit from community support go unserved. The 2013 Anaheim Youth Services Assessment, produced by the Anaheim Community Foundation, was released last week and calls for a unified approach to address gaps in service.
“It’s important for our kids to have a safe place to go, where they can find supportive adults and a sense of community,” said Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who represents portions of Anaheim. “If we don’t provide these services to every child who needs them, we will continue to see neighborhoods decline as we lose teens to gang violence.”
The assessment identified underserved geographic areas and age groups, the need for systemic solutions that involve youth and parents, an increased focus on prevention as well as intervention and comprehensive engagement by all parties in fostering safe communities.
“While many outstanding organizations provide programs for the city’s youth, the sad reality is there are many young people in Anaheim who are still underserved,” said Colleen Smagala-DeVane, president of ACF. “The great news is that this assessment will provide the blueprint for helping our community to build a strong infrastructure of services so that every child who needs support will have the access he or she deserves.”
Acknowledging the importance of involving a diverse and broad range of stakeholders, the assessment solicited feedback from youth, parents, community leaders, service providers, educators, business leaders, and city officials.
This is the first detailed analysis done in Anaheim since 1989, and it highlights the challenges and priorities for serving young people in California’s 10th largest city. The research and report were made possible through a donation from the Disneyland Resort to ACF. The Disneyland Resort also committed an additional $250,000 to ACF as seed money to address key findings identified in the report.
The full report is available at www.anaheimcf.org.