I can’t believe it, but the end of the year is here already. The end of the first Weed and Seed year, that is.
Quite a lot has been accomplished in our neighborhood by using this concept with a name that sounds like a lawn and garden treatment. There just might be something to the idea of different government agencies, service organizations, businesses and people working together to improve our community.
In this column, I thought I might offer a little Weed and Seed review.
In October 1994, Interactive Community Policing (ICP) was initiated at the Central Operations Division of the Police Department. The unit originally was staffed with four community police officers and one supervisor.
The Central Division became program partners with AmeriCorps from the University of Texas at Arlington in January 1995. AmeriCorps workers began a volunteer-driven graffiti abatement effort in East Dallas. Volunteers have painted over 75 locations that were vandalized by graffiti. Call us at 670-4420, and we will put you to work.
In the first week of March, Victim/Witness seminars were conducted on separate nights in English and Spanish. Speakers from the Police Department, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Shared Housing Center guided the audience through the legal steps involved, from reporting to the prosecution of family violence crimes. Information about social services available to victims was provided.
On April 8, 1995, the Police Department participated with other organizations in opening the Dinh Van Phuong Market at Peak and Bryan Streets with the first “Inner-City Life Festival” celebrating the cultural diversity of Old East Dallas.
On April 27, 1995, the first Weed and Seed Job Fair was held in East Dallas. A total of 216 job seekers attended the fair, which also offered job skills training seminars and information about other social services.
In May, the Executive Office of Weed and Seed in Washington announced that East Dallas had been “Officially Recognized” as a Weed and Seed site.
Also in May, the Old East Dallas Renaissance Coalition’s Community Projects Committee sponsored a poster-drawing contest for students attending several neighborhood elementary schools. The theme was to discourage random gunfire. Lipscomb third grader Brendan Pleasants’ poster was selected by a Weed and Seed committee to be printed and distributed throughout East Dallas prior to the Fourth of July.
In July, the ICP unit at Central was expanded from four to 12 community policing officers. This expansion allowed a team of officers to be assigned to work full-time in the Weed and Seed target area.
In August, just in time for school, the Back to School Mobile Immunization Clinics were held once again. This was a cooperative effort by Parkland Hospital’s Community Oriented Primary Care, Dallas Public Schools, the Greater Dallas Community of Churches and the Dallas Police Department.
Last year, more than 400 children were immunized against childhood diseases at four neighborhood elementary schools. The program was so successful that this year, the program was expanded to include 17 elementary schools throughout Dallas. An estimated 900 children received immunizations.
A new year is ahead. The Weeders and Seeders of the Community Revitalization Committee would like to focus on the health and safety of youths in East Dallas for next year.
Next month, I’ll have more to tell you about a Youth Festival being planned for November.
The year will be over before you know it.
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