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Oceanside works to fill funding gaps for youth services programs

OCEANSIDE — Following some heartfelt community requests, City Council unanimously voted to spend $153,000 in one-time funds and $120,500 per year in annual funds to fill in gaps in youth and family services at its May 15 meeting. 

“I do want to make this the best place for our kids,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said. “Any child should be able to walk down the street anywhere in the city without fear.”

Approved one-time funds will support the Project REACH teen program at Libby Lake Community Center, startup funds for North County Lifeline to open its second location in Crown Heights, and police monitoring system cameras and wireless connections.

Annual funds will be committed for two years to help fund an additional school resource officer, recreation centers evening youth programs, and a Libby Lake neighborhood summer youth program. Also funded will be the faith-based Oceanside Community Safety Partnership adopt-a-block cleanups, and the Police Explorer Program.

Youth spoke in support of the REACH, North County Lifeline and Police Explorer programs. Libby Lake shooting survivor David Garcia said that REACH had inspired him.

“I can go out and find a job. I can see my friends become mayor or president of the United States,” he said.

“We need a place where we can remain kids,” he added. “They’re there. They’re safe.”

Program and service recommendations were made following the joint City Council/Oceanside Unified School District workshop on April 24.

The goal is to continue to support city, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, neighborhood groups and school district efforts to prevent youth related violence.

For several programs, additional city funds came just in the nick of time. The REACH program will run out of funds in August.

North County Lifeline will use funds to start up its second Crown Heights site that will offer state licensed childcare provider training and service 40 more youths.

Annual funds will begin a summer youth program for kids ages 12 and under in the Libby Lake neighborhood, and allow recreation centers to continue their youth programs from 6 to 9 p.m.

Some remaining gaps that still need funding are youth program field trips and restoring bookmobile hours.

Awarded funds are limited to two years.

“It’s truly gap funding,” Councilman Jerry Kern said. “We need to try to find other grants and resources. We’re not out of the woods yet financially.”