04 August 2005 ~ 0 Comments

Gang Divergence Project

Yesterday, Rachel and I went up to Laurel Pines, a camp in Big Bear, with Michelle and Drew to lead an extended time of worship during their high school camp. It was an awesome night. It is so fun to just let God lead and to see students engaging with God as they worship.

Upon returning home, somewhere around midnight, we found a letter on our door. Here’s what it said:

Dear neigbor,

The City Of Long Beach Community Development Department is
applying for a permit to operate a Walk-In Center at 601 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, Ca 90813. This facility will provide services and training to at risk persons ages 16 thru 24.

One of the programs the center will offer is a “GANG
to assist in the personal development of at risk youth. This program is not limited to, but will reach out to:

Youth beginning to see problems with law enforcement, gang affiliation or have probationary involvement.

Youth who may have substance abuse problems.

This center will provide services to more than five thousand clients a year and employ a staff of twenty two, without on-site parking. Street parking is very limited; and if this center is permitted to open, parking may be impacted within the entire area.

A uniformed guard will be stationed within the facility for the protection of staff but will not patrol the nearby bus stops or streets. We, the residents, will have to deal with graffiti and trash that may be generated by the facilities at risk clients.

This is your opportunity to voice your opinion regarding the proposed permit.
Meeting Date: August 8, 2005
Meeting Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: City Planning and Building Dept., 7th
Floor Large Conference Room

The letter then added the representative to contact and where to get info. This left me thinking. When did our parking situation become more important than trying to make an impact on the lives of at risk youth? I understand that possesions and appearance of an area are important, but when did the possibility of trash become more important than helping others?

It saddens me to see what some of the values of our community have become. While there may be some legitimate concerns to be addressed, I personally would welcome those trying to make a positive impact on the community and the people who live here. Yes, at times there are costs to helping others, but at what point do we look ahead and see positively changed lives being well worth the costs of inconvenience?

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