- Karie Portillo
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) honors Safe Passage Youth Foundation as the 2021 California Nonprofit of the Year for Assembly District 44. Safe Passage is a partnership between the Thousand Oaks Police Department and Conejo Recreation and Park District, to mentor and provide safe and beneficial opportunities for at-risk children, five-days a week.
“For more than 7 years, Safe Passage has provided enriching opportunities for young children in our community to be exposed to many different experiences, which will hopefully lead them to living productive and fulfilling lives,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “Tim Hagel and the organization’s many staff and volunteers have made an incredible difference in the lives of our local youth. For that I am happy to designate the foundation as the 44th Assembly District’s 2021 Nonprofit of the Year.”
Since 2014, Safe Passage has been contributing to a positive change in our local community. There is a specific focus on two densely populated micro-communities characterized by having less access to extra-curricular programs and educational experiences for children. They fulfill the needs of youth ages 5 – 12 by providing free after school education and recreation opportunities.
Safe Passage stepped in immediately when the COVID-19 pandemic hit our communities. They distributed food to at-risk families daily by becoming a Feeding America Food supplier, providing over 1,000 meals per week to 400 children and delivering weekly groceries. This summer, they plan to hold a STEAMO (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Medicine, Outdoors) Camp, an 8 week program for over 100 Safe Passage children whose families have been directly affected by the pandemic.
“Safe Passage Youth is an organization of many stakeholders that each bring their youth service specialties together with one common purpose: To provide a pathway for vulnerable children to thrive while promoting academic access, literacy, community safety, hope and resilience,” stated Tim Hagel, Executive Director at Safe Passage Youth Foundation. “We are collectively humbled by this recognition.”
The Safe Passage program staff includes Deputy Sheriffs, School Resource Officers, Youth Explorers, Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) staff, mentors, high school students, librarians, as well as professors from California Lutheran University (CLU), college students, and youth interns.
This is the sixth year of the California Nonprofit of the Year initiative. In this year of extreme uncertainty and suffering, nonprofits have continued to step up to support our communities as circumstances and needs rapidly change.
“Nonprofits are a community of stubborn optimists,” explains Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits). “Our belief that the world can be better – more equitable, more kind – is powerful. Honoring a California Nonprofit of the Year shows that elected officials recognize and celebrate the good work they see nonprofits doing in their districts.”
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin represents California’s 44th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Camarillo, El Rio, Moorpark, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.