Volume 51 | February 2019
Your monthly news & updates
In Memoriam
Daryl Thiesen

Known throughout Kern County and across the State for building bridges and creating partnerships, Daryl Thiesen leaves a legacy of compassion, community, and youth advocacy.

In the education field since the mid-1980's, Daryl not only brought programs to our schools that focused on social-emotional learning, restorative practices, substance use prevention, and truancy reduction, but he championed them State-wide.

As someone who strongly believed in youth voice, Daryl was the driving force behind the Leaders in Life Youth Conference and the Bakersfield Safe Street Coalition, and worked tirelessly for Kern students and their families. Kern County is a healthier place thanks to his dedicated efforts. He will be greatly missed.
Walking Toward A Healthier Tomorrow
California Walks, in partnership with youth leaders from the Greenfield Walking Group, secured $12,500 from the highly competitive Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program. Operated by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, only 10 awards were given across the nation. Way to go South Kern!!

This is the second time California Walks and youth from the Greenfield Walking Group have successfully collaborated in obtaining funding for improving South Kern recreation areas. Stay tuned to learn how you can be part of improving our community!
Measure N: What Does Safety Look Like To You?
By the narrowest of margins, Measure N was voted in during last November’s election. A Bakersfield City sales tax that adds one-cent to every dollar spent, the measure passed by just 97 votes. Intended to address priorities identified by the community, such as improving public safety services, maintaining public areas, retaining and attracting jobs, and addressing homelessness, the revenue is earmarked to improve Bakersfield.

One of the local debates has been around defining “public safety” and the best way to achieve it. Earlier this month the City Council appointed nine community members to the oversight committee. Chosen from a pool of 87 applicants, five of whom were disqualified because they do not live within the city limits, these nine will play a role in keeping the City accountable for distributing Measure N fund, which are anticipated to total millions of dollars. Ultimately, City Council members have the final say in how these dollars are distributed, but the oversight committee is tasked with monitoring that the funds are allocated as intended, as well as having the opportunity to comment on the direction of the proposed expenditures.

Many in Bakersfield, including several BHC-Kern partners, feel the oversight committee is not representative of Bakersfield and lacks diversity; not only falling short in gender and ethnic diversity, but also in diversity of perspective.  

For example, Faith in the Valley would like to see funding from Measure N funneled toward school psychologists and city-sponsored after school programs; believing that this will result in improving public safety by addressing youth trauma early on.

What can you do? Write a letter to your city councilmember expressing what public safety means to you, send them a tweet telling them where the money should go, or write an op-ed voicing your opinion on how the money should be spent. This money is going to be coming out of all of our pockets. Make sure you have a say in how it's spent!
Celebrate Black History Month
February is Black History Month and Kern is celebrating with events taking place around the county. Harvard-trained historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson conceived the idea of Black History Month in 1925 and brought it to fruition the following year with the goal of raising awareness about the contributions made by African Americans that benefit people around the world.

Please take advantage of the many cultural and educational events happening in Bakersfield and throughout Kern County to celebrate Black History Month!
Delano Youth Get Loud

Delano students are taking their civic duty seriously. Loud for Tomorrow, founded in 2018 through Central Valley Freedom Summer, in conjunction with the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment, is youth-led group of middle and high school students who originally came together to encourage young adults to vote. Post election season, the group is focused on identifying needs in their community, and then strategizing how to effect the change they want to see. Read more about these dynamic youth!
Call For Young Writers!
In celebration of Mahatma Ghandi's 150th birthday, the Rabi and Naina Patel Foundation, in partnership with the local Gandhi Committee for Truth and Non-Violence, is hosting events throughout the year honoring Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence. The celebration began last month with a free screening of Ghandi at the Fox Theater.

Submissions are now being accepted from all Kern County high school seniors and all Kern County college students for an essay contest with $1,000 1st place prize and $500 for 2nd place.

How to Enter

Write a personal essay, in approximately 750 words, that explains what you think Gandhi meant by the quote:  "An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."  Discuss how you think the method of Satyagraha could be applied for solving the problems the world is facing today. Describe examples of what you have done or what you could do to make the world a better place, following Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence.

Submit an essay providing your personal interpretation of Gandhi’s quote:

High School Seniors:
Deadline: March 31
Submit your essay in pdf format to: gandhiessay@gmail.com

College Students:
Deadline: May 30
Submit your essay in pdf format to: gcccollegeessay@gmail.com
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