Engaging and Empowering Sacramento’s Youth
Supporting Education in Sacramento
The quality of life in a community is often directly related to the quality of the K-12 schools. While the City of Sacramento does not have direct oversight of our schools or curriculum development, the strength of our partnerships with the school districts, community, law enforcement, libraries, and after school & youth engagement programs are the cornerstones of our community’s success.
As Mayor, Ashby will continue to develop stronger partnerships between the City and the school districts to ensure all of our youth receive the resources necessary to be successful. As Mayor Pro Tem, Ashby led the passage of the $129 million Measure J School Facilities Bond. Additional specific programs that Councilmember Ashby has either supported, championed, or partnered on, and will continue to take the lead on as Mayor, include:
- Parks and Recreation: Parks programming funding has been decimated in recent years. With the stabilizing of the economy and with the assistance of Measure U dollars, the City of Sacramento must continue to restore these critical programs including summer recreation, pools, and investment in Community Centers.
- Boys and Girls Clubs: Councilmember Ashby identified the funding to establish a Boys and Girls Club on the campus of Inderkum High School. The club plays a vital role in ensuring academic achievement, recreation opportunities and life skills for youth, and prioritizing the participation of young people living in affordable housing. As Mayor, Ashby will make the Mayor’s Office a resource for community members and groups looking to create these kinds of partnerships.
- After School Programs (4th R and START): We must continue to fully fund 4th R/START programs and work with our partners at the state and school district levels to share funding responsibilities and make sure that the programs are affordable for all families. The state government has not increased their share, putting additional pressure on middle class families and local cities, an issue that our next mayor must face head on.
- Gang Prevention Task Force: The City Council just approved over $620,000 for non-profits providing services to reduce and prevent gang violence. Our next mayor must further develop these key partnerships that will reduce violence and increase favorable outcomes in our at-risk neighborhoods (higher graduation rates, college acceptance, job training, financial literacy, etc.) by focusing on early intervention.
- Expand Youth Action Corps/Parks Leadership Academy for Youth Citywide: Councilmember Ashby established the Youth Action Corps (YAC) and the Parks Leadership Academy for Youth (PLAY) in District 1. YAC/PLAY engages youth in park cleanups, the completion of class projects, provides leadership opportunities, employment preparation workshops, financial literacy classes, and youth symposiums. YAC/PLAY participants are connected directly with job and internship opportunities. The YAC/PLAY program has received statewide recognition for its efforts in engaging youth across the Natomas community. As Mayor, Ashby will use the success of this program to implement it across the city.
- Further Investment in and Support of our Libraries / Summer Reading Programs: Our libraries are the foundation of youth development in Sacramento and are the modern day equalizer in providing access to wifi, computers, digital platforms, and critical resources for students. Ashby has been a champion of our libraries. She led the parcel tax expansion, Measure B, in 2014, served as chair of the library authority, and helped keep the doors open on all city branches when three were slated for closure. As Mayor, she will promote programs like Summer Reading that help close the achievement gap. The North Natomas branch boasts the county’s highest participation rates in summer reading, leading to greater opportunities for literacy and academic success, regardless of socioeconomic status. We must take these best practices and apply them citywide.
- Student and Law Enforcement Relations: We need to develop partnerships between our school districts and law enforcement agencies that reflect a change in culture and are less punitive, placing positive police officers on high school campuses to serve as caring adults who want to prevent crime from occurring and participate in the individual successes of our young people.
- Youth Investment: Our next mayor should commit to investing a million dollars a year in partnerships with program providers making a difference in our communities:
- Support groups restoring neighborhoods through art and music, literacy and play, providing positive safe environments and caring adults.
- Develop a program through the Parks Department that allows these partners to apply for additional funding and serve families throughout our city.
Members of the City Council had good intentions when placing Measure Y on the ballot. However this kind of ballot box budgeting creates new bureaucracies and has unintended consequences, locking up essential funds and preventing the council from addressing other critical needs the city may face, including: public safety, homelessness, affordable housing, transportation, and parks and rec programs. It’s reasonable to make a $1 million baseline commitment to programs for youth, and then evaluate additional commitments, on balance, against other priorities on an annual basis.
Preparing Young People for Careers
The City of Sacramento must lead by example and push local employers to offer internships and mentorship opportunities to young people in our community.Additionally, we must encourage job training and apprenticeship programs by partnering with public agencies at state, county, and local levels, as well as non-profit, private companies, and unions that run apprenticeship programs. City leadership can make a real difference in the ability of these partners to succeed in reaching out to young people, particularly in underserved communities.