By John Hernandez
Copper Area News
Betty Chavez of Adelante Juntos Coalition (AJC) has announced that the El Centro Youth Center will be closed in San Manuel and moved to the town of Superior. The youth center will be moving in November. Betty is moving to Colorado Springs, Colo. to take care of her mother. Adelante Juntos will be moving their office out of the B Avenue School building and returning to their old location until the first of the year. Diane Polanco, project assistant will be running the office. The closure of the office and youth center in San Manuel is due to the loss of funding. Money and grants have dried up in part due to the sequestration and government shutdown. There is a possibility that the youth center may reopen if new funding becomes available.
Betty has been involved with Adelante Juntos in San Manuel since 2005. She has been active in substance abuse prevention and working with youth in the Tri-Community and Copper Corridor. The STOP! Underage Drinking program has been a success in the area. “We have had good results and outcomes in the prevention of underage drinking and want to duplicate this in other areas like Superior and the Florence school districts,” said Betty.
Betty said that when she started, she did not understand community mobilization and coalition. She has been instrumental in establishing partnerships with law enforcement and other agencies that have resulted in more services for families along the Copper Corridor. Project STOP and National Night Out provided opportunities to build relationships with local law enforcement which has helped provide a safer, healthier, drug free community. In partnering with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office they were able to raise community awareness of the crystal meth problem through town hall meetings and community forums. Sheriff Paul Babeu and Lt. Tami Villar have helped immensely. The Neighborhood Meth Watch Program garnered Betty and Adelante Juntos Coalition national honors. AJC designed and implemented the program in many rural communities in Pinal County. The Pinal County Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office have helped fund AJC programs with donations from their RICO funds.
Betty is proud that she has empowered others to be successful. She is “humbled and honored” to have been involved with the community in working with Safe Journey House, Copper Town Days, and the youth center. Her proudest moment was when the El Centro Youth Center opened its doors. This gave the youth in San Manuel a safe place to spend time after school and was used for many positive activities and events. Betty has given much to the community especially the youth in area. She will be missed.
Elizabeth Magallanez is the Adelante Juntos Coalition Project Coordinator in Superior. She is working on finding a location for the youth center. She will be under the supervision of Dr. John Zhang. “The center in San Manuel is very nice,” said Elizabeth. “I hope we can find a good location, getting the right location is key.” Elizabeth has been the chairperson of the Superior Substance Abuse Coalition (SSAC) for five years. She has worked for Resolution Copper and the Town of Superior. She is also involved with the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition.
Elizabeth and Adelante Juntos will be looking for volunteers to help with the Youth Center and other programs. She will have AJC partner with existing programs such as the Culinary Arts School at Superior High School. AJC started up in Superior and is returning to the area. Although the loss of the youth center in San Manuel will hurt, Superior will be gaining a well established program to help the youth of the area. For more information about Adelante Juntos Coalition and the Youth Center or to volunteer contact Elizabeth at email@example.com.