The Center for Children & Youth Justice will recognize Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll with the 5th annual Norm Maleng Advocate for Youth Award, to be presented at a breakfast fundraiser for the Center at 7 a.m. on Thursday, March 1, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.
Carroll earns the award in recognition of his creation of A Better Seattle, the organization he launched in 2011 to combat youth and gang violence in our community.
“We’re thrilled that Coach Carroll has transplanted such a successful program from Los Angeles to help create ‘A Better Seattle’ in his new home,” said Justice Bobbe J. Bridge (ret.), founding president and CEO of the Center for Children & Youth Justice. “Not only is it combating violence and improving the lives of our young people, it has galvanized several key organizations to work together to benefit our community long into the future.”
The Center’s own efforts on gang intervention include initiating the South King County Coordinating Council on Gangs, which is working toward a comprehensive and cooperative process to address gangs throughout communities in South King County and Bellevue.
Partnering with the YMCA and the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, A Better Seattle – also supported by Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer – promotes and funds efforts to deploy former street youth as outreach workers to intervene directly with vulnerable young people. The goal is to help youth avoid gangs or get out safely if they are already involved. The local effort builds upon the success of A Better L.A. Foundation, which Coach Carroll founded when he was coaching at USC.
“We are honored to receive the Norm Maleng Advocate for Youth Award,” Coach Carroll said. “Our work with A Better Seattle and A Better L.A. is in the spirit of what Mr. Maleng believed. And that work is built on the notion that the greatest of things can happen for young people – especially for the most at-risk and oftentimes overlooked young people – if we provide them with a little coaching and direction. Our street outreach workers are transforming our community by reducing violence and connecting with young people in a way that creates hope and helps them understand what they can become.”
Named in honor of the late King County Prosecuting Attorney, the Norm Maleng Advocate for Youth Award recognizes those who show exemplary leadership, dedication and commitment to the youth and families of Washington state. Previous recipients include the Maleng family, the law firm Perkins Coie LLC, Anne Ramsay-Jenkins of the College Success Foundation and Jim Mallahan.
In addition to the award presentation, the breakfast will include a keynote address by Gerald Hankerson, who at 18 was convicted of being an accessory to murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Behind bars, he earned his high school diploma, started a program for at-risk youth, participated in a variety of causes aimed at bettering inmates’ lives, and became an advocate for justice system reforms. In 2009, after 22 years in prison, his bid for clemency was successful, and today he works to spread the message that “good things happen when you take personal responsibility for your actions and make good choices.”
Guests at the March 1 event are asked to make a tax-deductible contribution of $150 or more. To register or to learn more, visit the website at www.ccyj.org.
Founded in 2006, the Center for Children & Youth Justice is a nonprofit organization dedicated to shaping better lives for children and youth involved in Washington’s foster care and juvenile justice systems. In partnership with parents, advocates and policymakers, the Center develops and advances innovative approaches to systemic changes that will support kids, stabilize families and strengthen communities.