Kids First - Stop the Violence Rally

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Boys & Girls Clubs: Tim Blaylock, (805) 815-4959 x203, tblaylock@bgcop.org -- OXNARD TO HOLD "KIDS FIRST - STOP THE VIOLENCE" RALLY. Community invited to march from Plaza Park and to Boys & Girls Club for rally.

In a ground swell of support and solidarity for all children, the Oxnard community will come together Feb. 23, to formally pledge its commitment to making children's safety and well-being its first priority. The event, inspired by the recent shooting death of 15-year-old Lawrence King and organized by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, will focus on the powerful potential for change, when individuals make a personal pledge and take action to stop the violence and put kids first.

Everyone in the community -- all adults, parents, students, children and grandparents -- is urged to make children society's top priority, for without youth, there is no future. Attendees will find out how to get involved to make the community safer for children, what resources are available and will be asked to put "Kids First" as a strategy to reduce violence.

Individuals and families are invited to gather at Plaza Park, 500 South C St., Oxnard at 9 a.m., Feb. 23 and then march together to the 10 a.m. rally to be held at the Boys & Girls Clubs Martin V. Smith Center at 1900 W. Fifth St., Oxnard. Participants are encouraged to make and bring, "Kids First-Stop the Violence" placards and banners to carry in the march.

Speakers at the rally will include Ventura County Superintendent of Schools, Charles Weis, PhD; Ventura County Supervisors John Flynn and Kathy Long and Oxnard's Chief of Police, John Crombach. The "Voices of Hope" children's choir (featuring Rio School District students) will perform. The program will also include presentations and literature from community groups including Soka Gakkai International-USA's "Victory Over Violence" and United Way and 211, the countywide social services hotline. Sign-up sheets for those wishing to donate time and support to "Kids First-Stop the Violence" will be available.    

"It is time to be outraged at the violence in our community and to stop pointing the finger of blame at our schools, our police departments, our cities, parents and people who may be different than we are," said Tim Blaylock, Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme. "It is time for each of us to look in the mirror. The first, most enduring responsibility of every society is to ensure the health and well-being of its children."

Blaylock emphasized that community and government organizations can make a tremendous difference in children's lives, but without the profound commitment of each individual, effective change is an uphill struggle.

Organizations interested in more information about participation and support can contact Meggan McCarthy at (805) 815-4959, ext. 204 or email mmccarthy@bgcop.org

By involving parents, volunteers, educators and the business community, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme helps youth reach their full potential through a positive environment, lifelong learning and programs dedicated to the arts, education, character and leadership development, health and recreation. Programs are based on physical, emotional, cultural and social needs, and are designed to expand participants' areas of interest. For more information, visit http://www.positiveplace4kids.org or call (805) 815-4959, ext. 203.

Boys & Girls Clubs:    
Tim Blaylock
(805) 815-4959 x203
tblaylock@bgcop.org

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Nancy Mayerson

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