It Started with a Cop and a Parent
Susan Dubin, founding member, graciously shares our “origin story” with you. Her son was struggling several years ago, and she needed help. Her luck changed when she met (then) Community Lead Officer Matt Zakarian, Glendale Police Dept., at the COPPS station.
I was referred by the Sheriff’s Dept. to Matt at the Montrose substation as a resource and point of contact. I walked in with my missing person report paperwork in hand and Matt immediately sprang into action. He made copies of my paperwork, called another officer and within five minutes we were all talking about what brought me there and how we could work together.
I felt I could trust him right away since he was so engaged and seemed genuinely concerned about the situation. He and several officers were quick to give me their phone numbers to call them directly and, when I did call, they called right back and listened along with offering suggestions.
Matt was focused on getting the word out and more people involved. He kept me motivated and encouraged by his passion and drive to bring the community together and rally behind this problem collectively. He made a Google group and kept up with our meetings even when there were only a few people at the table.
When GPD officer Joe Allen joined the group, he had so much knowledge and came across so personable. I was surprised they felt so strongly about making a difference and what I perceived as taking a personal stance beyond just patrolling the streets to help the community.
This was not the first time drug issues had surfaced and I’m sure other groups discussed similar plans, but Matt was connected in the community and he kept pushing to get more people involved. When Kim Beattie came in that was big name, the YMCA, a business partner. When we met at CVHS, Linda Evans, then principal, was generous with providing a meeting place. Stepping in quickly to fund Pam Erdman, Linda clearly saw it as a partnership. There were many other community leaders who joined as we continued to discuss plans and solutions including the weekly parent education sessions and the Fire House youth center.
It encouraged me to step out from the shadows and put a face to the problem and it helped my son because he knew people were watching and wanted to help.
Six years later, I am proud of how the community came together and proud that our organization is here and continues to bring awareness and draw in more participants. Drugs not only touch those who personally struggle, but all families in the community. My son’s journey has taught me that.
More families need help. Although we have a grant from the federal government, it’s limited in its use. To provide free educational opportunities like weekly discussions at the YMCA and to bring national speaker of the 40 Developmental Assets, Clay Roberts, to a new generation of parents, we need your support. Helping parents helps children. Please consider making a contribution through the envelope in today’s paper or through CV-Alliance.org.
Suzy Jacobs, Executive Director,
3131 Foothill Blvd. Suite D
La Crescenta, CA 91214
(818) 646-7867 http://cv-alliance.org/