Pacific Islander Community Projects
PCRC has specific projects focused on the Pacific Islander community in San Mateo County. Violence and gang involvement is a growing concern in this community. While the overall numbers may be small, San Mateo County has the second largest population of Tongan’s outside of the Kingdom of Tonga and a high concentration of Samoans, Fijians and other Pacific Islanders.
The Tongan Interfaith Collaborative is a project focused on youth violence prevention in the Tongan and other Pacific Islander communities in San Mateo County. The Collaborative was started in 2004 when local police who were seeing significant delinquency and violence among Tongan youth. Gang involvement was growing. PCRC facilitated a collaborative effort between local police, Tongan community leaders, faith leaders, and other supports to try to turn the trend and make the community safer.
For the last 7 years, PCRC has helped these stakeholders — law enforcement, community leaders, faith leaders, youth, parents, and schools — join forces to work creatively to address these community concerns. Past activities have included: community building events like musical concerts, youth development activities like ropes courses and a rugby team, a Youth Conference, community leadership skills trainings, cultural training for law enforcement. This collaborative has helped respond to specific incidents of violence in addition to implementing various activities focused on prevention.
Now, the Violence Prevention Network includes a sub-committee focused Pacific Islander issues.
An after school program focused on Pacific Islander youth in San Mateo High School is currently being implemented in partnership with the San Mateo County Health Department. The project – “Mana” a universal Polynesian word for miracle or dream — was inspired by a community study conducted by the Health Department which found that the Pacific Islander population in San Mateo County showed a high degree of indicators of poor health and well-being. The data led the Health Department to conclude that support to targeted youth, to help them succeed in high school, would make a significant impact on the overall health of the community. Mana is designed to test that theory by implementing an intensive intervention of support of Pacific Islander youth in one targeted High School.
To learn more about PCRC’s work within the Pacific Islander community, please contact Marco Durazo at 650-513-0330 or use the form below.