“MGPTF”

Today I had the most amazing opportunity to be part of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s “Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force” (MGPTF) Community Town Hall meeting. As mentioned in a previous post, San Jose is plagued with youth violence and though city statistics show gang related crime is down 18 percent from last year, it still remains an issue for the nation’s fourth largest city. The meeting was held at a high school in the East Side of San Jose, where one can usually find some type of gang related graffiti or tagging on almost every street corner. Dozens of San Jose residents, young and old, poured into the gymnasium where the facilitators introduced themselves and stated what department they were associated with (SJPD, SJFD, Parks & Rec. etc). We later broke into groups where we could voice our opinions and desires of what needs to change to keep our communities safe. At the end of our team discussions, we were then to present to the entire body our top concerns.

I’ve always heard when groups of passionate advocators come together for a good cause, positive changes are made. So it wasn’t surprising to see out of seven large groups, six groups felt the number one factor the city of San Jose needs to focus on is educating parents on the overall notion of gangs. Presenters stated parents need to be more involved and more aware of what’s happening within our communities and more importantly, to their children. Many felt San Jose should hold parent programs paralleled with schools that focus on gang prevention and include other avenues of awareness like alcohol abuse and mental health issues. Today was the first of four MGPTF meetings that will be held in various districts of San Jose and once all Town Hall gatherings are completed, Mayor Chuck Reed and Council Members will compile all of the notes and ideas and will create a strategic plan that will be implemented by 2016.

At the end of the gathering, I also had the opportunity to be interviewed by Peninsula Press on why I showed up and what I hope for the future of San Jose. I talked about my Miss San Jose Latina title and platform and though the interview was short, I felt it prepared me for when it’s really my time to shine during pageant weekend.

Love,
Kassie P.

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Code Red: Stage Mom

When I decided to enter myself in the Miss California Latina pageant, I didn’t tell anyone, including my family. No one had ever participated in an event like this so I knew telling them would be somewhat of a shocker but I knew my family would support my decision. When I came to visit my parents house later that week, I made an announcement during dinner of my latest news. My parents laughed in amusement but started asking questions right away of what the process consisted of and how I even came across pageants in the first place. After explaining all of the nitty gritty, I showed my parents what my next steps were in finding sponsors and how I’d make this pageant affordable. My parents showered me with their support and now we had officially become a “pageant family.” My mom has since begun to send me links,articles and ideas that revolve around pageants, that are allowing me to get more insight of the unknown. Together, my mom and I have created two binders full of Miss California Latina documents and have even made a calendar of “to-do” items with each month that passes in preparation for the big weekend. My mom has been such a big help and I’ve enjoyed brainstorming and bouncing off ideas back and forth of what the pageant will be like. Though talking about dress alterations and events to make appearances at are some of the exciting details about the pageant, I am thankful my mom continues to remind me I must hang onto my true values and beliefs throughout this experience. We know as a family that Miss California Latina may open golden doors of opportunities for me but I am thankful my mom is constantly reminding me to keep grounded. Though the pageant lifestyle is new to our family, one thing that is not new is the encouragement and love my mom sends out with whatever her children decide to do in life. Happy Mother’s Day to the best stage mom I could have ever asked for!

Love,
Kassie P.