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Mayor's Challenge Aids Youth & Families

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Riverside Mayor Ron LoveridgeTargets four key goals to augment life and opportunities for children and families

Mayor Ron Loveridge recently set four locally-defined goals and targets to augment the quality of life and opportunities for children and families as part of the National League of Cities Action Challenge for Children and Families.

However, his challenge has received mixed emotions from the community.

In a press release, he said the Challenge was created to promote city leadership and accountability, while encouraging mayors to build on innovative local strategies that enrich the well-being of children, youth and families. Nationwide, over 100 Mayors from major metropolitan cities have joined the Challenge. Mayor Loveridge’s goals include:

· Opportunities to learn and grow: Establish service-learning opportunities for students in Riverside.

· A safe neighborhood to call home: Reestablish “At Home in Riverside” program promoting neighborhood livability and school success.

· A healthy lifestyle and environment: Promote fitness and walking by establishing a “100 Mile Club” at Riverside elementary schools.

· A financially fit family in which to thrive: Partner with United Way to provide financial planning workshops throughout the City.

“The success of cities is measured in large part by the opportunities we provide for families, children and youth to build a strong foundation”, said Mayor Ron Loveridge. “The four elements of the Action Challenge encompass the building blocks needed to create a thriving city.”

Loveridge’s announcement has been met in the Black community with raised eyebrows and some skepticism and applause. It is a wait and see by some.

“Our youth need something now not just in the summer. We use to hire nearly 20 kids at the recreation centers. Those jobs are and have been gone for some time and the youth are going other places to make money, sometimes it creates trouble. We will just wait and see what this new initiative develops,” said one person who asked not to be identified.

However, Sylvia Martin James, one of the city leaders and a retired teacher said, “the first steps have been taken. Look at the parks, families know they are welcome.

This is a move to create environments that families feel they are welcome.”

During the summer, Mayor Loveridge partnered with the United Way to provide free financial literacy workshops to families in the community. Throughout the Challenge, Mayor Loveridge will continue making strides in each target area; positively impacting the quality of life for youth and families in Riverside.

“The Mayor’s plan is for the entire city, but it’s the Blacks and Hispanic kids that are suffering if no provisions are made to include them,” stated the unidentified person. For more information, please visit Mayor Loveridge’s website at www.riversideca.gov/mayor.

Cheryl Brown contributed to this article.

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