District Attorney George Gascón Kicks Off YMCA of San Francisco Community Forum

June 8, 2011

CONTACT: Erica Terry Derryck, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
ADA Seth Steward, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1014

District Attorney George Gascón Kicks Off YMCA of San Francisco Community Forum
Building Partnership to Support Youths, Keep Communities Healthy and Promote Public Safety

SAN FRANCISCO – District Attorney George Gascón gave the morning keynote address at the YMCA of San Francisco’s Community Forum, an event organized by the YMCA of San Francisco to convene community leaders, elected officials and change makers for a discussion about the future of youth and healthy communities in San Francisco.

“District Attorney Gascón’s ongoing support of the YMCA and the community effort in understanding how we can better support our young people is remarkable,” said Charles M. Collins, President and CEO, YMCA of San Francisco. “His knowledge in respect to youth development and justice lays the foundation for the collaboration with the many community partners focused on creating a healthy future for San Francisco’s youth.”

In an opening session led by the YMCA of San Francisco’s President and CEO Charles M. Collins and Vice President of Operations Chip Rich, District Attorney Gascón addressed leaders of many organizations from the fields of health, youth development, government and public safety who are working to solve the issues that face communities today.

Drawing from his decades of experience in law enforcement and his own personal story of going from dropping out of high school to earning a law degree, District Attorney Gascón spoke about the many challenges facing young people who end up in the criminal justice system.

“We need to adopt a new approach to dealing with former offenders who cycle in and out of the criminal justice system at great social and monetary cost to themselves and their communities, threatening the health, safety and well-being of everyone one of us,” said District Attorney Gascón. “Community forums like this provide an opportunity for us to work together to find a new way of doing business.”

The YMCA Community Forum kicked off by District Attorney Gascón continued with two panel discussions entitled, “Healthy Living: Partnerships for healthy communities” and “Youth Development: Closing the Educational & Social Gaps of Today’s Youth.” The half-day event was held at the YMCA in Chinatown.

As part of District Attorney Gascón's commitment to ending truancy, the District Attorney’s Office and the YMCA are partners in a credit reclamation program called CARE, which is run out of the Bayview YMCA. The CARE program assists high school students through an intensive academic program that allows students to recover school credits lost as a result of truancy or dropping out. Participants are then able to successfully transition back into an academic setting where they can earn a high school diploma.