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'Resilience' Group Helping Kids Get Out Of Gangs

 March 31, 2021 at 4:40 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, March 31st. >>>> Helping San Diego’s youth who’ve been involved with gangs More next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. ###### More unaccompanied teenage girls have arrived at the San Diego Convention Center bringing the total of migrant children there to 723, according to city news service. 70 have tested positive for the coronavirus. Local authorities are seeking volunteer teachers to provide educational services for the girls, a move criticized by Republican congressman Darrell Issa. In a statement, Issa noted the decision to provide in-person instruction to the migrant girls was quote outrageous while San Diego schools remain closed. ######## Golden hall in downtown san diego is once again sheltering San Diegans experiencing homelessness. Many of the people at the facility were previously housed at the convention center,. Mayor Todd Gloria said the city is continuing to take a holistic approach to ending homelessness. “That means leading with compassion, engaging on prevention, using good data to make our decisions, and making sure that we implement the plans that we have with everything pointing towards connecting people to housing.” The golden hall operation is being run by father Joe's Villages. ######### Many San Diego city and county offices will be closed today for Cesar Chavez day today.. County libraries and animal shelters will be closed to the public, though emergency animal services will be available. County parks will remain open and City trash and recycling will continue as normal ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. Gang involvement often leads to jail time, substance abuse, and even death. We're going to hear from an organization helping at-risk North County youth overcome their past gang involvement. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne has this story about a group called Resilience. Sandra Mora grew up surrounded by gangs, drugs, and an unstable home. “I didn't have nobody there so I ended up turning to gangs. Everything i was looking for at home I found it in the streets.” “I’m a recovering addict, I started using drugs when I was 13. I had a traumatic experience when I was growing up at the age of 8. And it just skyrocketed from there.” At 21, Mora went to prison. She says prison and letting her family down were the turning points to her turbulent life. “It was time, time to change my life around.” Mora, now 45 years old, chose to give back to the community she grew up in. She is studying drug and alcohol counseling at Palomar College and expects to graduate in the next two years. Mora is also a mentor for Resilience, a nonprofit organization helping at risk North County youth on probation or leaving juvenile detention. “ I love it. I’m able to give back to the community. I can relate to all the kids i've came across, from them not having the support at home or their parents are doing drugs.” 19 year old Aki Del Rio is one of Mora’s mentees. “My whole family is gang related from different gangs in Oceanside. So I grew up around that type of stuff. My dad was a gang member. He died when I was in first grade, killed by Oceanside Police Dept. I grew up in foster homes, my mom was a drug addict . I bounced from house to house. When Del Rio was in juvenile hall, Resilience reached out to him to connect him with a mentor. Del Rio had been through similar programs before, “Most people I've seen always have an agenda. It's to just get finished with you to move on to the next person and just make their money, blah blah blah, But he saw a difference in resilience….. “but with these people right here it's real genuine, everything they do is out of the bottom of their hearts. “ All of the mentors in Resilience have a past gang affiliation or have been to prison - helping them bond with their mentees. “I don't want to see this kid go back to jail, he's so smart. They have so much potential, and you see it. And that's part about being a mentor that you gotta remind them that they're worthy of living a different lifestyle.” Robert Cole is a Resilience mentor. He says part of his job is showing his students there is more to life than the four corners of the city they grew up in. “Took them to be able to do things that they’ve never done. Fishing trip, kid who’s never been on a boat. Those types of experiences we deal with every day.” Resilience guides their youth in a variety of ways… from field trips and exercising together… to regular meetings, helping with college enrollment and attending court hearings. And they provide mentees someone they can trust. “My job is to try to make the ones who are going in and out of jail and are comfortable with it, be uncomfortable when they go back because they've experienced a lot more to life.” Mentors say their job never ends... and it can go as far as taking phone calls in the middle of the night to save a mentee from making a bad choice. “I've stayed on the phone with one of my girls for almost 2 hours, just talking, laughing. Trying to get her out of that state of mind where she wants to take off, take off the bracelet because she’s on probation, wants to go get high, go drink. Something that’s going to eventually get her caught up and go back. “ Del Rio has graduated from the program, with no plans to go back to his old life. He hopes to join the Army at the end of the year. 15:39:50 “The program has done a lot for me. Got me off probation, got me to colleges, so many opportunities they’ve blessed me with that has got me to the point where I’m at now.” And while he explores his opportunities, he also returns to Resilience, to mentor other youth that are going through what he did, and showing them how resilient they can be. That was KPBS North County Reporter Tania Thorne. ########## The VA is expanding the number of veterans eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. KPBS Military Reporter Steve Walsh saya that the local VA has an ambitious goal of getting shots to any vet who wants one For veterans the fastest route to getting vaccinated may be through the local VA, according to Dr. Robert Smith, the head of the San Diego VA. The VA has seen its supply of the vaccine steadily increase. A new law also allows the VA to vaccinate all veterans and spouses and caregivers. “I think we’ll get 100 percent of the veterans who want to be vaccinated within the next 90 days. That’s my target.” About 50,000 shots have been given out by the San Diego VA since the vaccine became available. Last week the VA went six days without a COVID patient. Right now there are 2 veterans in the hospital with the disease. Steve Walsh KPBS News. That was KPBS Military Reporter Steve Walsh. The VA’s vaccine scheduling hotline at (858) 642-3810 ######## Feeding San Diego is going “on tour,” taking its large-scale food distributions around the county. The first stop: Chula Vista. KPBS’ Melissa Mae reports. Feeding San Diego has already helped more than 20-thousand San Diegans. Tuesday, volunteers were ready to help approximately 1,400 South Bay households with nutritious food during their contactless, drive thru food distribution at the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre. San Duke is the Volunteer Programs Manager for Feeding San Diego. It’s very important, a lot of people are facing hunger for the first time due to the pandemic, so Feeding San Diego being able to provide, anything we can do to support the community, it’s what we’re here for.” The tour’s next distribution will be on Wednesday, April 7 at Pechanga Arena from 10 AM to noon. Melissa Mae KPBS News. That was KPBS’ Melissa Mae. ########## Coming up...some landlords in San Diego refused money from rental assistance programs. We’ll have more on that next, just after the break. Last year, The city and county of San Diego set aside $40 million in rental assistance to help low-income families impacted by the pandemic. But some renters weren’t helped because their landlords didn’t take the money. Now, a second infusion of rent relief money from state and federal sources has poured into the region, and this time it comes with built-in incentives designed to persuade landlords to take the money. Investigative reporter Cody Dulaney has been covering the story for Inewsource, and he spoke with KPBS Midday Edition Host Jade Hindmon. Here’s that interview. That was Cody Dulaney, investigative reporter for Inewsource, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition Host Jade Hindmond. Inewsource is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS. Have you gone to a movie in the past year? What would draw you back to the theatres? Well….Godzilla Vs. Kong is a big movie about gigantic monsters and, according to KPBS film critic Beth Accomando, it is proving to be exactly the type of film to draw people into recently reopened cinemas. Let me just begin by saying that the very premise of this film is problematic for me because Godzilla and Kong are my two all time favorite cinema creatures. There’s no way I could pick between them. It would be like asking a parent to chose which child gets to pummel a sibling into submission. I mean why couldn’t this be Godzilla AND Kong Vs. the World? I know, because Hollywood thinks the two screen giants will sell more tickets fighting each other than working together. CLIP We need Kong, the world needs him. Right but this is Godzilla’s franchise. And although Godzilla gets top billing Kong, who is an American creation and looks more human, gets more screen time and is made more empathetic. To the film’s credit, it does resolve—sort of-- the taking sides issue, it thankfully reduces the presence of annoying human characters, and it serves up some genuinely impressive scale for the monsters. Personally I don’t find computer effects as compelling as the old Godzilla suit acting or Kong’s stop motion animation but the film definitely makes you look up in awe at these magnificent creatures. Hollywood may still not quite get what makes a Godzilla movie work, at least not in the same way that Japan’s Toho Studio has been demonstrating for decades but as a film to draw us out of our pandemic home theaters, Godzilla Vs. Kong certainly has epic appeal. Beth Accomando, KPBS News. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

A North County group is helping at-risk youth resist the lure of gangs, and have a chance at a new life. Plus, some landlords in San Diego refused rent relief money in the first round of funding -- a new infusion of money includes incentives for landlords to participate. Meanwhile, the San Diego VA is rolling out it’s vaccine plans and goals for veterans.