By Kevin Rice
The Anaheim Family Justice Center (AFJC) celebrated the graduation of 13 children Wednesday afternoon from the Kids Creating Change program, which is part of AFJC Foundation’s Children’s Survivor’s Academy.
Kids Creating Change is a five-week, 20-hour program that provides children of violence the knowledge and skills to shatter the cycle of abuse. The program covers conflict resolution/playground bullying, anger management, communication skills, physical health and effective family communication.
Kids Creating Change groups the participating children into classes of no more than 15 per age group and provides age appropriate lessons and activities.
Idelia Lazo leads the nine to 11 year olds and the teenage classes, while Leticia Sanchez works with the five to eight year olds, primarily Spanish-speaking children. As co-facilitators, Idelia and Leticia try to inspire the children to volunteer for community service, with the idea, “How can we use our hands for something positive?”
The graduation ceremony included a certificate presentation, congratulatory words from the Anaheim Police and Fire Departments, including Anaheim Police Deputy Chief Raul Quezada, Lt. Eric Carter and Deputy Fire Chief Rusty Coffelt. The ceremony ended with a potluck and a special quilt give away in honor of the famed, “Grandma Betty,” a woman who volutneers anonymously.
“It’s a great experience to help with the program,” said 11-year old Vanessa Sanchez, who has completed the program herself and has volunteered since 2011. “I really enjoy giving my time to community service and teaching how to recognize and report bullying and physical violence.”