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 LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The largest gang-diversion program in the city's Pico-Union District was launched today through a joint effort of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Salvation Army, the Los Angeles Unified School District and First Interstate Bank.
 The program, called "ON TRACK," was announced during a news conference hosted by Edward M. Carson, chairman and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based First Interstate Bancorp. Carson was joined by Police Chief Willie Williams, Mayor Richard Riordan, City Councilman Mike Hernandez, Col. George Church of the Salvation Army and Dr. Evangelina Stockwell, assistant superintendent for Region B of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
 The kick-off event was held at the Salvation Army's Red Shield Youth and Community Center, which is located in the Pico-Union District at 1531 W. 11th Street in Los Angeles.
 Funded with an initial grant of $75,000 (over two years) and up to $115,000 (over three years) from First Interstate Bank of California, ON TRACK combines the diverse resources of the Red Shield Youth and Community Center, the Tenth Street School and the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Area.
 "Public safety and public education are two of the most pressing issues on the city's agenda," said Carson, "and they should be, because where public safety meets education is where the future of this city meets the road. ON TRACK is our way of addressing these critical issues."
 He noted that ON TRACK "will improve the quality of life for families living in the Pico-Union District by bringing together the financial resources of the private sector, the dedicated staff of an outstanding community services agency, educators who are committed to ensuring the best possible future for their students, and the active support and involvement of local law enforcement."
 The ON TRACK program, which will be managed by the Salvation Army's Red Shield Youth and Community Center, is comprised of four components:
 Student Enrichment Activities -- A variety of supervised educational and recreational activities will be available to the approximately 200 Tenth Street School children who will participate in the program each year.
 These activities, which are based on the "Getting Along After School" curriculum developed by the San Francisco-based Children's Television Resource and Education Center, include games and musical and outdoor activities that help children enhance their self-esteem, develop their interpersonal and communications skills, increase their cognitive and creative abilities, and develop a sense of teamwork and community.
 Student enrichment activities will be available at the Red Shield center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., when the center's regular after-school program begins. Previously, because of budgetary constraints, the center's after-school youth activities were available only from 3 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. during school days.
 Teachers and administrators from the 10th Street School, which is located directly across from the Red Shield Center, will play a key role in identifying at-risk students at an early stage and referring them to the ON TRACK program. Because the school operates on a year-round calendar, students are "off track" or out of school for four one-month periods during which there are few, if any, educational or recreational programs available locally.
 Parenting Skills Development -- The Red Shield Youth and Community Center will present a series of parental skills development workshops and seminars. Based on the "Common Sense Parenting Program" developed and tested by Boys Town, the program will incorporate role playing, small group discussions and modeling techniques.
 LAPD Rampart Area officers will conduct sessions on gang behavior. Branch officers from First Interstate's Wilshire-Lucas Branch, which is located in the Pico-Union area, will present workshops on household budgeting and basic banking services.
 Case Management and Referral Services -- The Red Shield Center will add to its staff a trained, bilingual (English/Spanish) social worker specializing in case-managed youth and family intervention. Counseling, family intervention and referral services will be available through the center four days each week.
 Red Shield Parent Advisory Council -- The Red Shield center will create a Parent Advisory Council, which will be chaired by Irene deAnda Lewis, executive director of the Red Shield Youth and Community Center. The council will include parents of 10th Street School students and of children already involved in the center's programs, and representatives of LAPD's Rampart Area and First Interstate Bank.
 Police Chief Williams said, "ON TRACK is an investment in the future of our youth. It's smarter to invest today in programs like this than it is to invest in building additional prisons tomorrow. Preventive programs, such as D.A.R.E., have turned around thousands of youngsters not just in Los Angeles, but across the country. These types of programs deliver quantifiable results and that's what counts."
 "Programs such as ON TRACK are perfect examples of what can happen when the public and private sectors join to help the community," said Mayor Riordon. "First Interstate's donation to the Salvation Army's Red Shield Youth and Community Center should be commended."
 With 328 branches throughout the state, First Interstate Bank of California is the third-largest bank in California. It is the principle subsidiary of First Interstate Bancorp, the 14th-largest commercial banking company in the United States and the largest based in Southern California.
 -0- 11/22/93
 /CONTACT: Rich Wyler, 213-614-4462, 213-613-5995 (pager), or David Garcia, 213-614-4662 or 213-812-7533 (pager)/

CO: First Interstate Bank of California; Salvation Army ST: California IN: FIN SU:

NY-JB -- LA022 -- 6877 11/22/93 14:33 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 22, 1993

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