DOWNEY - The Downey/South Gate Youth and Government delegation received a $10,000 donation last week to participate in a mock government conference in Sacramento.The donation came from Long Beach-based attorney Stephen M. Garcia of Garcia, Artigliere & Shadrack, and Doug Easton of Briarcrest Nursing Center in Bell. "With budget cuts in schools and a reduction in programs for youth, community support is more important than ever in order for young people to have the opportunities to expand their academic, interpersonal and career horizons," said Christine De La Torre, volunteer advisor to the Downey/South Gate delegation. The Downey YMCA started the Youth and Government delegation in 2006. High school students participate in six months of weekly meetings and weekend training, culminating in a five-day conference in Sacramento. Students take on the roles of state government legislatures, lobbyists, commissioners, media representatives, justices and the governor of California. As part of the program, delegates volunteer at Downey YMCA community events and speak at local service clubs. Over the last five years, more than 100 students have participated in the program. Funded by community donations, no student is turned away due to lack of funds. Garcia was involved in the Youth and Government program 26 years ago in Westchester. "I know the positive effect this program has on young people and how our communities benefit from our youth gaining a hands-on understanding of the governmental process," he said. "I am very pleased to support this group of motivated young people to take advantage of such a life-changing opportunity." More than 2,500 students statewide participate in the program.
********** Published: December 1, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 33