Representatives from more than 20 non-profit and governmental organizations, along with elected leaders, came together at the Woodland Joint Unified School District office on August 30 in the spirit of partnering in support of Woodland youth.
Attendees learned more about the "Woodland Community Call to Action - Our United Aspiration for Youth," a newly developed communitywide guide to support young people in Woodland. They also discussed opportunities to unite as a community around youth issues, with the guide as a connecting factor.
“It was great to see so many community leaders in one space for the sole purpose of supporting our youth,” said WJUSD Board President Rogelio Villagrana, who facilitated the meeting. “It was evident to me that every single person who joined us cares deeply about our youth and gives of themselves to our community. I’m proud to stand with them in support of our Call to Action and I’m confident that by working together, it will benefit Woodland youth.”
Kara Hunter, Executive Director of the Yolo Conflict Resolution Center, was among community leaders in attendance.
“The community of Woodland is committed to caring for youth and their families in an intentional and sincere way,” Hunter said. “Having folks come together from all the various agencies and schools really demonstrates that commitment. It is my sincere hope that all members of the Woodland community can feel that care and we can build a stronger community together.”
The City of Woodland, the District, and many other educational partners, including students, collaborated to create the Call to Action guide with a unified focus on ensuring that all young people throughout Woodland have the support and opportunities to thrive.
“The City of Woodland is whole-heartedly committed to supporting young people in our community,” said Woodland Mayor Vicky Fernandez, who also attended the meeting. “It’s uplifting to see the strong support from leaders in our community who are interested in collaborating to support our youth even better. By combining our efforts, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.”
Preparatory work on the Call to Action began in 2019. That effort came to fruition right before the pandemic started in March 2020 and the final version was jointly approved by WJUSD and the City of Woodland on April 20, 2023.
“This Call to Action is at heart a set of aspirations and guiding principles to unify those of us who have an impact on the youth in our community because we know our work is more than the skill set or goals our organization focuses on,” said Greta Galindo, Library Services Director for Woodland Public Library. “For me it’s reading, literacy, and youth development, for others it’s sports and youth development or math and youth development. All of it focused on always moving in the direction of what is best for each young person.”
Others who attended the meeting said they came away feeling inspired by the potential for collaboration.
“I appreciated seeing so many organizations and people that care about our youth,” said Jose Arenas, Director of Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer (TANA). “We’re all carrying out our own mission, but then you realize that we’re not alone in our mission to empower youth. I found that very inspiring. We can collaborate, make connections, and work collectively.”
“My takeaway was how there’s a whole community of people who are invested in our kids and they want to see them being celebrated and being successful,” added Linda Henigan, Executive Director of Woodland’s Dinner on Main and the Edible Learning Garden. “We can do great things going forward as an entire community. I came away inspired by the group of people and the caliber of people that were here.”
“All families want the best for their children,” said Elodia Ortega-Lampkin, WJUSD Superintendent. “We came together today from our various organizations because we all feel the same way. We want to support our young people the best way we can so they can thrive and be successful in life. I’m excited for what we will accomplish together.”