|The LookOut Letters to the Editor|
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Santa Monica's Pico Youth and Family Working to Get Respect
Your article “Santa Monica City Council to Vote on Funding for Youth Job Training Program” is certainly good news. Any teaming or partnering program that works towards that end is deserving of funding. What is sad is that there is not more funding because the problems are deep rooted. However, we do not need to entertain a "two dogs, one bone" angle about organizations that serve youth.
My concern is that your article praises Saint Joseph's Center, HTA and Saint John's Center at the expense of the Pico Youth and Family Center. Your article did well to describe the merits of these organizations, who we have worked with, but uses bad form, going beyond its title to rehash criticism of PYFC for the same administrative errors we've been beaten over the head with since before the City Council Meeting on January 8th, 2013.
The fact is that, right before that meeting, the late Peggy Bergmann saw value in what PYFC does and left a $1.6M gift for us to provide services for "at-risk youth and their families". Further, the administrative oversights your article mentions, each and everyone, have been explained and corrected to the satisfaction of the City and PYFC is, TODAY, working hard with "Patty and Betty" to remain in good standing with the City department that we report to. If someone there is putting us down please refer that person to me.
Please refrain from putting your virtual foot on our neck while we are down. The three organizations that you mention will attest that there are too many issues within the population of this target age group including, but not limited to, joblessness, cyber have-not's and suicide for us to have to deal with the editorial darts thrown our way. Give us a hand up! You may want to consider helping PYFC get some good press and pay us a visit. Our Board meets every third Tuesday of the month at 6:00PM at the Center on Pico. That's the building that used to have the graffiti near the corner of Lincoln and Pico.
In closing, I want to tell you about a lovely lady named Barbara who worked at the City whose ethic could teach people about working with our neighborhood. I used to report to her when we had the group called Fraternal Endeavors, the FE, in the "North East" sector of Ocean Park. We had a house on 5th Street that we used as a "Homework Help" program and neighborhood gathering place. After that we had the Non-profit Network, NPN, on Lincoln where we had the Edward James Olmos Training and Information Center. We taught computers and keyboarding to anyone, for free. There was never a problem reporting to this lady and she always was supportive. I can testify, the paperwork was a lot easier. Governance then and now have changed drastically but, as the PYFC team has learned, it is manageable, not brain surgery.
Your news business, obviously, would be better knowing what she knew, that the human side of social service work is always measurable because the beauty that remains constant throughout all of these years is that young people have become better people from the attention given through these non-profit efforts, regardless of the accuracy of a budget, the timeliness of a schedule or how many others died trying. Oscar De La Torre is a prime example because he is a man of the FE.
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