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Community Task Force focuses on Youth


If you ask the young people of Apopka, education is the silver bullet to overcome violence.

The Apopka Community Task Force on Violence met last night at The John Bridges Center. Its focus was a young perspective. A group of high school students, college students and 20-somethings met, broke into groups, and delivered authentic and surprising remarks.

fe4501ad-1d8e-4791-978e-ec573a279e99The first group to present their thoughts believes that only 20-30% of students care about their education, while 20% of teachers aren’t fully engaged.

If this is the case, September Porras believes that income plays a role.

“The wealth in a community funnels into a school system,” said Porras, a recent graduate of Apopka High School. “Winter Park is a richer community than Apopka. Because of this there are more programs and opportunities at Winter Park High School.”

Both groups agreed that while there may be a “One Apopka” attitude, it is still the southside that needs the most attention.

“Apopka is divided and that needs to be recognized, said Briana Ciccarino who is a volunteer at Americorps and The Hope Community Center. “Most of the crime is in South Apopka.”

The group’s belief is that the high crime rate is due to stereotypes engrained in the minds of society. They returned to the theme of better education as being the best way to overcome this stigma.

Co-chairman Rod Love appreciated the focus group's opinions.

"The information we got tonight is invaluable,"he said. "This is the type of candid input we need to deliver the help and resources the community needs."

The Task Force is about halfway through its 90-day term to collect information and then issue recommendations to the City of Apopka and Orange County officials.nIt was formed in April in response to the increase in violence in the Apopka community.

Their next event will be on July 14th at The John Bridges Center. It is entitled: A Community Listening Group.

Apopka Community Task Force on violence


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