Sunnyside’s Promise on YouTube
July 6, 2011 3 Comments
Yes friends, Sunnyside’s Promise has a video posted online for the world to see. I am now aware of this fact, and will enlighten you on it momentarily. Recently, I wrote a post about a video that Transformation Sunnyside has online. That post got the attention of Nate Bridges, who let me know about the Sunnyside’s Promise video.
After viewing the Sunnyside’s Promise video, I asked Mr. Bridges if I could sit down and discuss it with him. He readily agreed, and we met Tuesday morning. After the meeting, I came away impressed with how driven he is in supporting the Sunnyside’s Promise organization. In terms of the gang problem, it is important to have positive outlets for youth to engage in, as an alternative to the dead-end that gangs will bring. As law enforcement brings greater pressure on the criminal element in our city, we also need to have positive alternatives for our youth.
Funding is always an issue in the non-profit world, and Sunnyside’s Promise has some unique challenges in this regard. While getting support from the City of Sunnyside, the Sunnyside School District, and Sunnyside Community Hospital, the organization is looking to also get increased support from the private sector. Many of the grant programs that Sunnyside’s Promise is engaged in pay for the programs and employees, but allow only a small percentage to be spent on administrative overhead.
Bridges says one of the reasons for making this video, is for corporate boards to see some of the things that Sunnyside’s Promise has going on, so they can consider including the group in their budgets for charity and community activities. These programs do not come cheap, as the group needs $180,000 each year to pay for its executive director, secretary, office space, insurance obligations, and employee benefits. Most of the other employees are paid through various grants.
The Yakima County Gang Commission failed to include substantial money for Sunnyside’s Promise in its allocation of funding to fight gangs in the county, an oversight that Nate Bridges says he has been told will not occur again in the future. Mr. Bridges is an appointed representative for the City of Sunnyside on the Gang Commission, but was out of town when the rest of the commission disbursed its funds last year. Mayor Jim Restucci also represents the City of Sunnyside on this commission.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reported on the agencies that did receive funds through the gang commission, and a link to that article is at the bottom of this post.
In the YouTube video, Mr. Bridges says they were unable to show much of what the group does, due to concerns for the at-risk youth they are working with. If it becomes public knowledge that a gang member is trying to leave the gang, they may be victims of violence from other gang members.
One such case involved Diane Lopez from Outlook, that according to Bridges, had made the decision to leave the gang. She was involved with services from Sunnyside’s Promise, and unfortunately died after being shot in her home in Outlook.
Sunnyside’s Promise has helped eight or nine youth to remove tattoos, which also can not be pictured publicly. Those removing tattoos are also at risk from other gang members that may respond in a violent fashion at this. Such is the culture of those caught up in gangs.
The Sunnyside School District has referred over 90 students to Sunnyside’s Promise for its prevention and intervention programs. Bridges says the kids typically are referred after flashing gang signs and colors, or engaging in other behavior linked to gangs. School counselors are not equipped to deal with these kids to the extent that Sunnyside’s Promise is working with them.
In conclusion, the gang problem is complex. No simple cure, like getting a job at the local Wal-Mart, will cure it. The culture of gang life must not be allowed to take over the lives of our youth. Sunnyside’s Promise is striving to prevent that from happening. I wish them the best of luck in their endeavors.
- County’s anti-gang programs will share funds (yakima-herald.com)
- Police Present Gang Elimination Plan (blogsunnyside.com)
- Community Group In Sunnyside Posts Video Online (blogsunnyside.com)