Community involvement is crucial to reducing street crime and gang activity. Police departments acknowledge the importance of partnering with the communities they police in order to create safer and healthier environments. Property owners, parents, and individuals living in communities affected by gang violence are motivated to enhance the safety of their neighborhoods. Many communities have developed highly effective programs to address the problem of teen violence and gangs. The most successful ones originate from locals who really know and understand their kids and the particular issues they face. These community groups utilize various means to reach troubled youth who are at risk for gang membership. Involving local adults, professionals, businesses, schools, churches, and the police, these groups are reducing youth violence. Mentoring an at-risk young person is a critical way to get involved in helping your community address gang activity. There are many groups that match mentors with youth, basing the match on interests, goals, and scheduling factors. Offering to teach skills to youth in after-school programs or coaching sports and other activities is another way to reach out to at-risk youth. Many young people lack the space and resources needed to channel their youthful energy in healthy, stress-reducing, and fun ways. When offered alternative ways of teaming up with their peers, young people have less of a need to look for support or group empowerment from membership in a gang. Neighborhood watch organizations create a sense of community and are effective crime-reducers. Block parties, barbecues, and potlucks bring people together, allowing them to get to know, trust, and provide neighborly support to one another. Inviting adults who were former gang members to speak to youth is another way of reaching out effectively to at-risk kids. These individuals usually have powerful insights that are invaluable to young people and can speak with authority about the perils of gang membership. Business owners and other professionals can offer internship possibilities to local youth, providing young people with needed, empowering skills and training. In return, the adults benefit greatly from the youthful vitality and creativity of their interns. Research shows that job training is a powerful tool to reduce gang violence. The key to success in all these efforts is working with others, partnering with police, churches, schools, and neighbors to make your community a safer, happier, and more prosperous place to live.
Tressa Rossi, licensed Real Estate Broker and President of Fox Management Inc., was recently nominated for an Orchid Award. Ms. Rossi received the nod in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the Portland business and real estate scene. Every year Portland honors 25 notable women business leaders with the Orchid Award. Presented to women in a cross-section of the community, the prestigious award recognizes their professional accomplishments as well as the exceptional contributions to the community they have made. Women nominated for the award are noted for such qualities as leadership, resilience to adversity, and professional as well as personal dynamism and verve. The Orchid Award is shared by women who have made lasting marks on the business environment and community of Portland, Oregon. Given the wealth of women participating in the diverse, lively and thriving atmosphere of this area, the award is truly an honor and only given to the best of the best. The nominees for each year are divided into the following categories: Woman Entrepreneur of the Year; Woman Executive of the Year for Small and Medium Business (less than $25 million in annual revenue); Woman Executive of the Year for Large Business; and Woman Executive of the Year for Nonprofits. The winners are announced at the awards ceremony, which is always a fun, extravagant affair, offering a great networking opportunity for all who attend as well as the chance to celebrate the achievements of superlative businesswomen.