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Chet P. Hewitt on the loss of summer youth programming in Sacramento

Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, has issued this statement in response to the City of Sacramento’s decision to recall previously-approved funding for Youth and Community PopUps. Instead, the City will use funds to support a lengthy RFP process to establish new youth programming.

Background: The Center at the Sierra Health Foundation launched PopUps in December 2018. Since March 2019, The Center has partnered with the City of Sacramento and trusted community-led organizations to provide eight Sacramento neighborhoods with weekly Youth and Community PopUps events. In June 2022, the City of Sacramento approved $1.3 million funding for the new fiscal year as part of the City’s 2022-23 budget. On July 1, Assistant City Managers rescinded funding for Youth and Community PopUps and shared that the City Manager was instead launching a planning process for new youth programs despite the Council’s June inclusion of PopUps in the City’s 2022-23 budget.

“Youth need more opportunities – not fewer. Shifting funding away from established youth programming and toward a long planning process leaves our young people with fewer resources to stay safe and connected. In the midst of school summer break and ongoing challenges from the pandemic, this decision is unconscionable and unfair to families.

“Throughout the years, the City has proudly shared the successes of the Youth and Community PopUps program and continuously invested in the program as an effective violence prevention tactic. Only weeks ago, the City Council, City Manager and Police Chief held a special session on the importance of curtailing rising gun violence. Ending funding for community-led Youth and Community PopUps is counter to this goal.

“We are tremendously proud of the 22 Youth and Community PopUps partners’ dedication to the youth of Sacramento. Above all, we stand with the youth of Sacramento that deserve more opportunities – not fewer. We’re calling for the Sacramento City Council to reinstate summer 2022 Youth and Community PopUps.”