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Video: Daniela Pardo reports on AFJC’s Children’s Survivors Academy

AFJC Foundation Honors Those Working to Stop Cycle of Violence  

By Kevin Rice

The honorees, Capt. Julian Harvey, Idalia Lazo and Kristal Landry join Kerith Dilley, Chief John Welter and Lt. Eric Carter

Anaheim Family Justice Center Foundation leaders this week honored volunteers and others who have contributed to stopping the cycle of violence for hundreds of Orange County families.

“This is an exciting day for our foundation,” said Kerith Dilley, Executive Director of the AFJC Foundation. “The people we are honoring today are not only improving the lives of Anaheim residents, but men, women and children throughout the region.”

AFJC Contributor of the Year was presented victim advocate, Kristal Landry. The Excellence Award was presented to police Capt. Julian Harvey, and the Special Recognition Award was presented to Reel Teens, Real Talk Facilitator, Idalia Lazo, who, with a tear in her eye, dedicated her award to those who take a stand against family violence.

The Volunteer of the Year, dubbed “Grandmother Betty” by Police Chief John Welter, did not want to be recognized, as she believes that the AFJC should recognize the efforts given to change lives, not the individuals. The retired grandmother donates a majority of her time as a volunteer with the AFJC programs.

Prior to the awards being presented, Maria Luz Rodgers, a woman who persisted through 24 years of spousal abuse, was introduced and explained how the AFJC was her only escape. After joining the AFJC’s survivors programs, Luz Rodgers was able to receive a permanent restraining order against her abuser and begin her life anew.

Welter also shared the story of a child who endured family violence.

“A mean bumble bee is always stinging,” the boy “Juan” told Welter. “Stinging everyone and everything. The life of a stinging bee is a bad way to live. The bee would be happier if it wasn’t always stinging”

“Breaking the cycle of violence is very hard to do,” Welter said.

“Juan,” said Welter, “used to be that bumble bee.”

Juan was angry because he, his mom and his brother were the recipients of family violence on a daily basis. Juan soon realized that he was living his life like the bumble bee. Always stinging. But after joining AFJC Foundation’s Children’s Survivor’s Academy, Juan began to realize that this was not the way to live.
  
After realizing his faults, Juan decided to become a helper and even asked Welter, “Who do I need to talk to about taking this program again?”
“Do something, anything to support our mission to stop family violence,” Welter encouraged. “Even the smallest effort helps.”

Chapman broadcaster to report on police issues

Daniela Pardo hopes someday to produce “fascinating stories” for a national news magazine such as Dateline or 60 Minutes.

Pardo

Until then, the Anaheim resident and Chapman University broadcaster is working on storytelling closer to home.

Pardo, 21, has joined the Behind the Badge team and plans to file occasional reports in English and Spanish about the people and programs of the Anaheim Police Department. Her stories will be posted here and on the department’s Facebook page.

“I hope to help establish a better relationship between the police and the community,” she said, noting she was unaware of the number of police programs geared toward keeping youth out of a life of crime. “The few people I’ve met so far seem to really love their jobs and they truly want to make Anaheim a better place for all of us.”

Already, Pardo has attended the Anaheim Family Justice Center’s “Children’s Violence Prevention Program” graduation. She is also working on a profile of Sgt. Steve Pena, one of many success stories from Anaheim’s Explorer program.

A senior at Chapman, Pardo is a regular contributor to Chapman News, a 30-minute weekly news program that airs on KOCE-TV.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to get the word out about how the community can work with us to reduce crime,” said Sgt. Bob Dunn. “This is a unique and exciting approach, and we are hopeful that her reports help us reach an even bigger portion of the Anaheim community.”

When she’s not working or studying, Pardo enjoys hiking, Zumba, reading – and, of course, watching the news.

“Everyone has a story to tell and many of those stories can be used to inspire and bring hope to others, and as a journalist I want to take on that responsibility and privilege to be that bridge,” Pardo said.