Press Release





On Monday, April 8, 2002, Sheriff Lee Baca, joined by Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano, Norwalk City Councilman Mike Mendez, and Whittier City Councilman Owen Newcomer dedicated 24,000 square feet of the Sheriff's Training and Regional Services (STARS) Center as the new site for the South Whittier Youth Center. Members of the community have delivered or pledged contributions of materials, labor, and professional services, as well as nearly $100,000 in cash. Gensler Architects, one of the world's pre-eminent firms, prepared the architectural strategy. Thienes Engineering of La Mirada has completed comprehensive surveys. Dry Design of Santa Monica will design the landscape plans. Supervisor Don Knabe has also pledged his support.

"Leaders of the community, residents, businesses, and Department members will have the opportunity to impact the lives of these children," said Sheriff Baca.

The Sheriff's Youth Center in South Whittier is the dream of community activists like Joe Valverde, Jose "Memo" Santos, and Sheriff's Department Commander Gil Jurado who have been generous, committed supporters of the youth boxing program of the Sheriff's Department for many years. Planning began in earnest when the boxing, martial arts, and dance classes in Amelia Mayberry Park were discontinued last year.

The new 7,000 square foot center will encompass a large area for the boxing ring and training equipment, a multipurpose area for martial arts and dance classes, with two large classrooms for academic and tutoring classes. There will also be boys and girls restrooms and locker rooms, and administrative office and storage areas.

"This is another gateway for the Sheriff's Department to partner with the community to support a positive environment for our youth," added Sheriff Baca.

The Sheriff's Youth Center in South Whittier will provide the children of the unincorporated area surrounded by Whittier, Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk, and La Mirada, with the opportunity to build character and hope while affording a good time.




April 11, 2002