Wednesday, April 20, 2005



For Jose Quintanar the old adage that "all politics is local" is true.

The We Care For Youth co-founder received word that Rep. Adam Schiff recently helped secure $50,000 for the nonprofit organization as part of his Kids First agenda of initiatives that he hopes will improve education, safety and health care for children in his district.

Quintanar had hoped to receive $150,000 a year for three years in federal funds, enough money to continue his anti-violence and youth-to-jobs training programs with Burbank and Glendale schools.

The one-time influx of $50,000 is enough to continue some programs while putting others on the back burner.

"I'm not exactly sure what the reason is but it might have to do with Katrina and the war," Quintanar said. "All money is significant for us and we are very grateful to Congressman Schiff to have gotten something for us."

The money was originally earmarked for anti-gang and anti-violence programs in Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena that would have involved about 4,500 teenagers in workshops and in-school and after-school programs, Quintanar said.

The program was scheduled to be expanded from a pilot program at Hoover High School.

"It was based on a nonviolence conference we had three years in a row at Hoover that served about 200 to 300 students with anger management and conflict resolution training for staff and youth," Quintanar said. "We perfected the model at Hoover and we wanted to start up similar programs at two high schools including one in Burbank but we couldn't go forward because of the funding."

Still, the program will receive the $50,000 in three to six months, which will be used to continue its business training program through the Bliss Unlimited retail outlet in the Town Center.

The store opened Nov. 9 and is used as a real-world training ground for students to learn about the business world, he said.

"They learn all aspects of retail and they get high school credit through the program which is accredited by the L.A. County Department of Education's Regional Occupational Program," Quintanar said.

"We have 22 students enrolled in the program and some get paid as well through workability programs for students with special needs."

The Town Center donates space and the Burbank Mayor's Youth Task Force donated $20,000, Quintanar said.

"The rest of the funding comes through fund raising and sales of merchandise," he said.

The program serves Burbank, Burroughs and Monterey high schools in Burbank and Glendale High School but students from anywhere in the county are eligible to participate, he said.

Linda Maxwell is the other co-founder of the program.

We Care for Youth and Bliss Unlimited can be reached at (818) 919-8896 or (818) 445-7979.