When members of the Glendale Youth Coalition asked the city and
school district for better services and venues for the community’s
young people, they didn’t receive the response they were looking for.
The city and school district yanked a combined $70,000 in funding.
The city has opted to redirect its efforts toward summer youth
employment programs, while the school district has said it cannot
afford to fund the coalition anymore in light of state budget cuts.
Coalition member and former president Matt Gangi, 18, said that
decision negates four years of hard work in getting the coalition off
“I’m upset. A supervisor has always told us what we could and
could not do and we were always left in the dark,” Gangi said. “It’s
not that they cut the funding that bothers me as much as the fact
that they didn’t include us in the decision.”
Gangi met with about 10 coalition members Tuesday night and
discussed plans to keep the coalition going. Members plan to meet
with the Human Relations Coalition today to discuss a cigarette bill
and curfew laws. Gangi said the coalition will also hold a public
meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Glendale’s Central Public Library.
The coalition is a three-tiered operation made up of a provider
network of 200 local organizations, 14 youth members of Glendale’s
Youth Voice and an 11-member executive committee.
Youth Voice member Amador Solis, 17, said the group is considering
applying for a grant to become a nonprofit organization independent
of the city and school district.
“We want to show that we can persevere. We appreciate their
support but we want to keep it going and do it on our own if we can,”
The majority of the $70,000 went toward salary and benefits for a
coalition executive director, according to City Councilman Gus Gomez.
The city will probably take its contribution of $35,000 and use it
for summer employment opportunities, Gomez said.
“We can’t afford to ignore the youth, but we need to make sure
money is going toward keeping them occupied and away from trouble,”
Nello Iacono, director of Parks, Recreation & Community Services
in Glendale, and members of an internal city team gave a presentation
on youth strategies to city council members Tuesday. The presentation
highlighted adult involvement, after-school alternatives, cultural
understanding, day care, low-cost transportation and delivery of
“I hope they will find a way to survive. From my perspective, the
Youth Coalition has been the only body trying to coordinate efforts
of youth services in the community,” Iacono said. “What’s important
is that we now find funding for youth employment programs and the
critical issue is that these strategies are out there.”
Former executive director Gabrielle Winter sent a July 15 letter
to coalition members stating the proposed elimination of funding to
the coalition. The letter also said that the council felt the
coalition’s intended mission had not been achieved.
Gomez on Wednesday said he wasn’t sure what the initial mission of
the coalition was, but that the goal is to make sure the youth of
Glendale have enough activities to keep them occupied and away from