Every day, law enforcement personnel throughout the state of California are placed in situations where they are forced to encounter juveniles who are involved in criminal activity. We have learned in recent years that the youth of our community have become involved in these activities due sometimes to the lack of structured activities after school, absent parents due to both parents working, family unity or simply they cannot afford to participate in community programs or organizations due to the costs.
Without daily structured activities to keep our youth focused and entertained, they are susceptible and easily recruited by our local criminal street gangs. To these children, the gangs provide them with a sense of family they may lack at home and often times, being part of a gang makes them feel important and needed.
Many of the organizations throughout California that have provided children with opportunities to be involved in constructive programs have been negatively impacted by the current economic situation of our state. These programs have taught our youth good values such as; sportsmanship, honor, responsibility, pride and reward for one’s hard work. Without these programs our children look elsewhere for direction, often times leading them down the wrong path and eventually into trouble.
In past years Santa Cruz Deputies have contributed between $25,000 and $30,000 a year to youth programs. This money came from deputy and family contributions. With the recent increase of requests, Deputies determined that this was no longer enough.
In an effort to raise revenues that will support more of these programs and organizations, the members of the Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA) have taken a proactive approach by creating a charity, “Stars of Justice, Inc.” (SJI). It is incorporated in California and has both state and federal tax exempt status.
All event proceeds will be used to benefit the various community YOUTH oriented organizations and programs in an effort to help our youth steer clear of gangs, drugs and criminal activities.
The Deputies of the DSA feel that failing our youth is not an option and we are committed to the success of this endeavor.