The best weapon against future crime?
Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion is convinced it’s giving kids growing up in households where poverty, gangs, and drugs are a way of life the power of choice.
It is why he’s doubled down on the effort launched by his predecessor Dave Bricker to support community endeavors to give youngsters other options than gangs, drug, and poverty. He’s doing it through the Manteca Police Chief’s Foundation.
“Through membership, intervention, education, and job training we work to save our community, one child at a time,” Obligacion noted. “The Manteca Police Chief’s Foundation is determined to give these kids back the power of choice.”
The Manteca Police Chief’s Foundation is arguably one of the best kept secrets in the community. That’s because it has just one fundraiser and it doesn’t stage programs per se but instead helps other non-profits that work with youth.
Tickets are going on sale next week for the sixth Annual Night Among Heroes” — a Police Officers’ Ball and Auction — taking place Sept. 19. The black tie event is so popular that tickets typically sell out within 10 days nearly two months in advance of the actual event. Tickets are $50 apiece. That event, that includes an auction, typically raises $25,000.
The foundation was born in the aftermath of when Bricker was chief and was appealing to the community — churches, community groups, and individuals — to help stem the tide against gangs by giving youth options. At the time residents in the Southside neighborhood near downtown lived in fear of gangs that literally had taken over the city park as well as forced people to stay inside much of the time.
A concentrated police effort coupled with other agencies ranging from building inspection to the health department helped turn the tide. A citywide National Night Out event was staged at the park to send a message that the neighborhood didn’t belong to gangs and that residents shouldn’t live in fear. It was also an effort to encourage the community to assist with the ongoing effort to give kids choices.
Several community-based initiatives were born from that event including the Friday Unity in the Neighborhood summer program for kids implanted by Southside Christian Church.
A hundred percent of all funds the foundation raises go directly to programs that benefit at-risk kids.
Among those programs are:
• b.first, b.tech, and b.culinary vocational education programs.
• the Manteca-based Great Valley Bookfest.
• Junior CSI and the Chief’s Academies.
• Music and art education programs.
• Agriculture in Motion science camp.
• holiday outreach where funds were spent securing clothing and toys for needy kids.
• the FUN program.
• Sober Graduation.
• The Second Harvest Food Bank’s Food for Thought program for kids where they are rewarded with bags of food for doing homework.
• Little League and community youth sports programs.
• Manteca Youth Focus.
The foundation is looking for momentary sponsorships of the upcoming black tie event as well as items for a select auction.
Financial donations for the Manteca Police Chief’s Foundation can be mailed to 1001 W. Center St., Manteca, CA, 595337 or foundation volunteers are available for local pick-up. Members of this year’s fundraising committee can be reached at 209.456.7299 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org