SANTA MARIA, Calif. - As a result of the Measure U sales tax, thousands of kids throughout Santa Maria have much to look forward to in the coming months.
City of Santa Maria spokesman Mark van de Kamp said there will be new opportunities for more field trips outside the city to places like Los Angeles and even San Jose.
Rozella Apel of Santa Maria, who's devoted to helping kids in the community, couldn't be more excited about the city's support for youth programs.
“It's especially important to me because it gives them an opportunity to be out in the community, build relationships and to spend time bonding with each other,” Apel said.
Thanks to Measure U, kids will get to explore the community more than ever before.
"It is big news, the fact that there's money set aside in the Measure U process, which was important for youth programs. We're trying to emphasize youth outreach to get them involved with more youth activities,” said Alex Posada, director of Recreation and Parks.
Two city rangers, who are being paid through a grant that will expire in August, will be able to continue their services.
"Rather than say goodbye to those valuable employees, we're just going to shift one source of income for the other,” van de Kamp said.
Recreation and Parks will be focusing on more summer employment programs for youth.
"This will allow is to be able to hire youth for city departments,” Posada said.
There will also be two new vans which will be beneficial for field trips, cultural outings and more recreational activities.
Currently the city offers dozens of youth programs at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center that just kicked off.
"But this is going to add that extra boost. It will let them know that we value them and they are the next generations,” van de Kamp said.