Tony owes and attributes much of his success today to the programs that Santa Ana made available to him and his family as a child and young adult. These programs included afterschool programs, youth sports, free summer lunch, community centers staffed by caring and charitable individuals, and clean and safe parks to play in.
As a teenager, Tony began to see these programs disappear and fall apart. Parks are now in disrepair and empty. Community centers are no longer a place where families in the neighborhood congregate. It’s clear that the City’s focus and financial interest have shifted away from these programs at an alarming rate. Just take a look at Heritage Park, Rosita Park, Santa Anita Park, Windsor Park, Centennial Park and surrounding examples to see what the years of neglect has done to these spaces. We will do better.
The current pandemic has only widened the void created in the Parks and Recreation budget at a time when the need for community is at its greatest.
Tony is committed to truly giving back to his community in a big way when it comes to redirecting attention and resources back to our youth programs as we invest in their futures. This has proven to have positive effects on his own life and he is indebted to do the same to our current families and communities.