SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento City Council unanimously passed a measure to provide funding for the Youth Pop-Up & Economic Mobility Program, extending the program through June 30, 2020.
The program is set to receive an infusion of $1.3 million this year. Sierra Health Foundation, which helps execute the funds provided by the city, will use the funding to create more events and usher in a new cohort of youth leaders.
In multiple locations in the city on Fridays and occasional Saturday nights, a mix of activities are available to youth in Sacramento through pop-up events. The program features recreation and sports, learning activities, dances, arts and crafts, cultural and artistic expression, and much more, all designed to encourage healthy development.
ABC10 previously reported that these youth pop-up events are credited with lowering the number of fights at the Arden Fair Mall, as it gives kids an opportunity to do something positive.
While the pop-up events are geared toward teens, everyone is invited to participate, making the popular gatherings a truly community-based endeavor.
The events have been very successful, according to Chet Hewitt, President and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation.
"[There were] 450 Pop-up events over the last year," Hewitt said. "Twenty-nine thousand attendees to those particular events. You will graduate your first cohort of young people who are employed by those sites doing the planning and engagement — 48 of them. And a new cohort starts in a couple of weeks."
Hewitt also points out that beyond activities and carving a space in the community, these pop-ups allow youth to receive real-world job experience. Those who participate in the Economic Mobility portion of the program attend eight weekly training sessions, help coordinate events and receive $100 weekly stipend.
"This is what a great city does when it says it's committed to its young people and it's prepared to operate on that as well," Hewitt said.
Sacramento pop-ups largely benefit communities of color. About 85% of participants of last year's program were people of color. Scheduled activities aim to provide a safe space and contribute to a culture of education and creativity.
"A lot of us have said and heard these words: 'Where do we belong? Where do we find community?'" Pastor Les Simmons said during the public comments portion of the city council meeting. "These pop-up events have created the space of belonging, the space where resources, services are offered. Opportunity is offered. Skill sets are delivered. Young folks are leading these programs, programming these programs."
You can find upcoming pop-up events in the Sacramento area here.
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