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Peace, Ice Cream and Civic Engagement Debuts in Fontana

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The Inland Empire Do Peace & Nonviolence Alliance (IEDOPNA) is hosting “Peacebuilding with Ice Cream: The Solutions are Everywhere,” an event to highlight the Youth PROMISE (Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education) Act, a bi-partisan initiative before congress that promises solutions to juvenile delinquency, incarceration and recidivism.

“The Center for Disease Control reports that homicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24 years-old,” said Bobbi Jo Chavarria, the State Regional Coordinator of the Peace Alliance’s Campaign for a U.S. Department of Peacebuilding and founder of IEDOPNA.

“That is unacceptable. We have to do better at addressing the issue and develop strategies to stem youth violence.”

“The Youth PROMISE Act will provide resources to local communities to implement practices that have proven to be more effective at reducing delinquency and youth violence at a much lower cost than incarceration,” she added.

Chavarria said the event started as a project that the Student Peace Alliance and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Scoop shops are participating in to promote civic engagement with free ice cream.

“As there is no local store in Fontana, we are reaching out to local businesses and organizations to help make our event successful. We will give coupons for a free pint of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream to those who qualify,” Chavarria said.

Besides information on the ballot initiative, voter registration will be included in the day of action. Attendees will qualify for a coupon for free ice cream (while supplies last) by signing an online petition to become a citizen cosponsor of the Youth PROMISE Act legislation, by taking action that day with a call or letter to legislators in support of the bill, and by pledging to vote in the upcoming 2010 election.

Those not old enough to vote can qualify by pledging to register to vote on or before their 18th birthday, signing the petition and writing a letter to legislators.

The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 16730B Arrow Blvd., Fontana.

“The attention given to juvenile violence tends to focus on tragic events and lives lost, it is time to focus on solutions and to invest in the programs that work, and the Youth PROMISE Act does that,” Chavarria said.

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