RPE Spotlight: January 2023

Earlier this year, VALOR brought together three prevention teams doing impactful work in communities and schools across the state. Edwin Gomez from Family Services of Tulare County (FSTC) and Fernanda Montes from Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center (RARCC) both focused on relationship building within schools. Edwin shared about his program’s School Mapping project and how they shared the information with students and school staff in order to build a stronger relationship. Fernanda spoke about her work in the schools building partnerships and strengthening collaboration between schools and the community. The Close to Home preventionist, Yvette Beltran from The Center for Community Solutions in San Diego presented the challenges and successes of her prevention team along with their team’s creative engagement projects with youth. In this 80-minute spotlight, participants were guided through three different programs and discussed barriers and key strategies for success when working with youth and adults in both community and school settings. 


“Humanizing school staff… people start knowing who you are and start knowing what you do… little things like them knowing what you do builds that connection with what you do…just saying “good morning” to them and “how was your weekend” can really make a change. It’s also very important to get involved with what the school is doing”. – Fernanda Montes, Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center 


“Communicating with administration may be a little bit hard… trying to make [prevention] a priority by reaching out and making it easier for them to have access to us… we want them to know that we are a resource and that will only benefit them… we wanted to get some input …from the people that lived here and go to school here to provide their feedback.” – Edwin Gomez, Family Services Tulare County


“We look for principals, administration and we really foster relationships with them… these are all programs that are within the school and students… they really get to lean into where their interests are… and we work really closely with their teachers and their administration to essentially develop a curriculum to go into their classrooms and this is a way that we recruit youth. Not only do we discuss our resources but we also discuss healthy relationships”. – Yvette Beltran, Center for Community Solutions


If you missed the January Spotlight, you can watch the recording HERE or follow up with our incredible presenters: 

Fernanda Montes (she/her), fmontes@rarcc.org

Edwin Gomez (he/him), edwin.gomez@fstc.net

Yvette Beltran (she/her), ybeltran@ccssd.org