PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Friday, September 12, 2014

Proyecto HEROES holds bilingual forum “This is our Community

Proyecto HEROES holds bilingual forum “This is our Community: These are our Children” on September 20 featuring UC Santa Barbara’s Dr. Victor Rios and Mitch Torina of Santa Barbara Unified School District

Proyecto/Project HEROES, a community-based participatory research program led by Drs. Maryam Kia-Keating (UC Santa Barbara) and Jessica Adams (CALM – Child Abuse Listening and Mediation), welcomes all members of the community to attend “This is our Community: These are our Children,” a Bilingual Community Forum, 12 pm - 3 pm, Saturday, September 20th at United Methodist Church at 305 E. Anapamu Street. This event is co-sponsored with the Pro Youth Movement, along with 17 community organizations and partners that make up Proyecto HEROES.

The forum will foster a dialogue reflecting the various perspectives of parents, youth, and community members concerned with increasing safety and reducing the trauma and violence exposure of local Latino youth. Beginning with a welcome by Cathy Murillo of the Santa Barbara City Council, the event will feature speakers who offer youth, school, and community perspectives on trauma and violence exposure. Two youth from the Proyecto HEROES photovoice project will introduce and show the video “VISUAL+ize: A Photovoice Project.” Presentations will follow from Mitch Torina, Assistant Superintendent of Santa Barbara Unified School District, and Dr. Victor Rios, UCSB Sociology professor.

Mitch Torina is an advocate for bringing restorative justice to our local schools and is dedicated to improving students’ educational experiences in our community through his work with the school district. Dr. Victor Rios is a researcher and author in educational equity, restorative justice, resilience, motivation, and youth culture. From 1:45-3 p.m., hands on small groups will actively engage all participants in building solutions for addressing violence and trauma, and supporting Latino youth healthy development and opportunities for success.

Resources tables will be available from the Community Action Commission, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)/Listos, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, CALM, Future Leaders of America, Family Engagement Network, La Casa de la Raza, the Promotores Network, and Santa Barbara Response Network. Lunch and childcare will be provided.

Proyecto HEROES (for more information, go to the project website at was formed as a community collaborative in January 2014 through a three-year grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Principal Investigators are Drs. Maryam Kia-Keating (UCSB) and Jessica Adams (CALM). HEROES stands for Honor, Educación, Respeto, Oportunidad, Esperanza, Soluciones (Honor, Education, Respect, Opportunity, Hope, and Solutions).

The Collaborative includes: Community Action Commission, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, CALM, Domestic Violence Solutions, Isla Vista Youth Projects, Just Communities, La Casa De La Raza, Las Abuelitas of Santa Barbara, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, The Promotores Network, Santa Barbara City Council, Santa Barbara Police Department, Santa Barbara Response Network, Santa Barbara Unified School District, South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs, University of California, Santa Barbara , Youth and Family Services YMCA.
Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by Grant 1 R13 HD075495-01A1 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

[Maryam Kia-Keating is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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