GONZALES — Gonzales City Council members approved renewal of a $38,000 agreement with Sun Street Centers to continue operation of its “Road to Success” youth diversion program throughout South Monterey County, during their regular July 6 meeting.

The City of Soledad is also entering into the agreement, with King City and Greenfield to enter after pursuing state grant funding, for which those two cities qualify. Sun Street itself will also host fundraisers to match funding to keep the program going.

“We’ve had tremendous success,” said Mark Hartunian, deputy city manager, about the program’s past years in the area.

“The success rate that we’re getting for this program far exceeds almost every other program out there,” said Council Member Paul Miller. “I think it’s really beneficial for us as a city to continue using this as a tool to stem juvenile crime and violence.”

Sun Street operates the Road to Success program for youth first-time offenders of crimes. The program lasts from three to six months with individualized offerings to divert youth away from issues with addiction or abuse. The program also includes a parent counseling component and life skills training.

“We’ve had approximately 50 to 60 referrals when we only thought we would identify about 20,” Hartunian said, referring to the number of area youths served. “The referral rate has been significant and the completion rate has been better.”

The latest renewal to the program went into effect July 1 and will last through June 30, 2021, unless the council approves a fourth extension at that time.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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