The City of Santa Clarita is proud to announce the opening of the Santa Clarita Youth Grove at Central Park on Saturday, February 11, 2006 at 10:00 am. Mayor Laurene Weste and members of the City Council will be on hand, along with members of the Blue Ribbon Task Force and the community, to dedicate the project. Central Park is located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus The Youth Grove, previously called the Blue Ribbon Youth Memorial, is a grassroots effort supported by the City of Santa Clarita and the Blue Ribbon Task Force. It is dedicated to Santa Clarita youth (up to 24 years old) who have died in traffic-related collisions. It will provide a safe, centralized location for young people and community members to remember these youth. The Youth Grove is also a graphic reminder of the cost of reckless driving, and will serve as an educational tool to raise awareness and promote safe driving to help deter future deaths. City staff has collected almost 100 names for potential inclusion in the project. The City has received releases from the parents of 56 of these youth, and these names will be included in the memorial at the time of the dedication. The finished project features individual art pieces, designed to mimic cut tree stumps, representative of each life cut short by a traffic-related incident. The project’s main feature is a central monument that will highlight a vow to always drive safe and responsibly. “We are so excited that we can finally open the Youth Grove to the public, and use it as a tool to increase community awareness about the unfortunate consequences of drunk driving or not paying attention while driving,” commented Councilmember Frank Ferry, who also spearheads the Blue Ribbon Task, Force. “After three years of working with the community on this project and fundraising, the City is proud to have created such a powerful educational tool, and it is our sincere hope that no more incidents will occur in the future requiring us to add names to the Youth Grove.” The dedication program will include a reading of the 56 names currently included in the Youth Grove, as well as a reading of the “kNOw More” vow. This vow was written by Debbie Knight and her daughter, Katherine Knight-Tabajdi who, after losing a number of friends to traffic-related incidents, approached Councilmember Ferry and the Blue Ribbon Task Force with the concept for the project that is now the Santa Clarita Youth Grove. The Blue Ribbon Task Force is comprised of community-based organizations, parents, youth, educators, law enforcement, businesses and City staff. Since its inception in 2000, the Task Force has worked with our community to educate parents and teens about different teen issues, including the consequences of abusing drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The Youth Grove Dedication event is free and open to the public.
For more information about the Dedication, the Blue Ribbon Task Force, or to include a name to the Youth Grove in the future, please contact Tess Simgen, Community Services Analyst, at 661/255-4956.