FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2000
Contact: Diane Thomas
Honored as Volunteers in Points of Light Program
Less than one mile from Civic Center Plaza, the work site
for approximately 6,000 County employees, is Pio Pico
Elementary School. Within one square mile around the school,
there live 26,000 young people 21 years of age and under.
Ninety-eight percent of the students who attend Pio Pico
have limited English proficiency; and 93 percent of them
receive free or reduced-cost meals.
Since 1998, 304 volunteers 250 of them County employees
-- have given their time as mentors for children at Pio
Pico. The volunteers have developed friendships
with the children and have encouraged educational achievement
as a part of the "Academic Volunteer and Mentor Service
Program (AVMSP)." Currently 151 volunteers are serving
at Pio Pico and approximately 130 of them work for the
Pio Picos volunteers will be honored at 4 p.m.,
August 24 at the Los Angeles Times community room,
1375 Sunflower Avenue in Costa Mesa. During the
ceremony, Board Chairman Chuck Smith will present
principal Judy Magsaysay with a Board of Supervisors
resolution commending the program for receiving a Daily
Point of Light. The national program for honoring
volunteerism is sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation,
the Corporation for National Service and the Knights of
Columbus. It was initiated by former President George
Volunteers credit Smith with the high percentage
of County participation.. The First District Supervisor
has encouraged agency and department heads to permit flexible
lunch schedules for employee volunteers. The AVMSP requires
one lunch hour (other times are also available) per week
for a minimum of three months. Many of the volunteers
continue their visits to Pio Pico beyond that time frame.
County employees are known for their concern for
the community, said Smith. This opportunity
virtually in our back yard -- enabled them
to help children learn and grow, and to do so within their
adjusted work day. Im proud of them all.
The neighborhood served by Pio Pico Elementary is linguistically
and economically isolated. Demographically, it has a majority
of families who have been in the U.S. a little more than
a decade, and the average level of schooling among adults
is third grade. The family income of the parents is substantially
below federal guidelines establishing poverty levels.
Pio Picos program has received financial support
from private industry and United Way. Last year the Bank
of America donated $90,000 , and the United Way of Orange
County awarded a four-year, $400,000 grant for expanding
the mentoring service.
Other mentors in the program come from Chapman University,
Strategies Public Relations Agency, Amway, and the City
of Santa Ana.