Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Helping My Community

Name: Marina Battistelli
From: Rancho Cucamonga, California
Grade: Senior
School: Los Osos High School
Votes: 7

My Community

I decided to dedicate my volunteer time to my own neighborhood. Within
my neighborhood, there had been over six home break-ins within a five
month period. Once my home was broken into and I personally felt the
sense of violation that the other six families must’ve felt and I
wanted to do something to help make changes. I contacted my local
police department and we discussed the idea of starting a
neighborhood watch meeting. So, I made posters and held the first
meeting at my house. Over twenty neighbors showed up eagerly ready to
listen to the presentation that I and the police department set up. I
then got donations from the neighbors which helped paid for two
neighborhood watch signs to be posted throughout the neighborhood.
Each meeting is held twice a year for about two hours in my house.
Aside from the meetings, I keep in contact with all my neighbors and
manage the contact and email list. If any new crimes come about, I
contact the police department so they are alerted and I also let the
watch group know so they can be on the lookout. Since this
neighborhood watch group has begun, there has been enormous support
and teamwork from all the neighbors. Gratefully, they helped my idea
flourish and become a huge help to our neighborhood.

Since the first meeting over six months ago, there have been no home
break-ins. The helpfulness and willingness of my neighbors has
brought me so much satisfaction along with the fact that the watch
group did actually make a difference in making my neighborhood safer
and crime free. My biggest challenge was trying to figure out how to
make my neighbors aware of the problem without trying to make them
scared or nervous about having police more involved. I live in a
suburban area that just happened to be a target for home robberies
and I didn’t want all my neighbors to go home scared that they were
at risk. So, I made sure my presentation was helpful and not alarming
but that it was eye opening. I wanted to let them know that they too
have the power to make our neighborhood a safer place, they just
hadn’t been aware of it.

When I think of my activity as forward-looking, I believe it means
progression and development. I hope to continue to keep my
neighborhood watch group going even as I go away to college. With the
help of my mom, neighbors, and the internet, I can stay updated with
current events that are happening and hold meetings when I come back
for breaks. I believe my work with crime prevention has only assured
me as I pursue a criminal justice and criminology major for my
undergraduate. I hope to one day obtain a career in the justice
system to make the world a better place. As I progress in that field
of work I hope to achieve even larger projects than my neighborhood
watch group.

If I were to come back to my project and neighborhood in ten or so
years, I would hope to find that my neighborhood would still be the
lively and safe place that is it. I would hope to still see lots of
wonderful families raising their young children without the worry
that someone is watching and waiting to invade their home. If the
program continues and the neighbors are just simply aware of looking
out for suspicious activity it will keep the crime rates down and the
neighborhood won’t be targeted.

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