Jill Biden, First Lady of the United States, visited the Alajuelita canton on Monday to learn about the progress of “Sembremos Seguridad”, a drug and crime prevention program developed to help favor adolescents and young people in general.
The event took place at the Municipal Stadium in Alajuelita, San José. Biden learned about the five initiatives established by the program implemented in particularly vulnerable areas. The US Embassy, along with the municipalities and the Ministry of Public Security, have worked together to ensure the success of this initiative.
In Alajuelita, the program benefits around 1,500 members of the community and is promoted through the Bureau of International Narcotics, Law Enforcement, and Justice (INL) of the U.S. Embassy. Unfortunately, this canton faces problems regarding insecurity and drugs.
The program involves different activities such as educational workshops, sports, martial arts, handicrafts, music and dance, among others. These are the tools the Alajuelita Prevention Center has been using to rescue young people from dysfunctional homes and children who had dropped out of school, explained Modesto Alpizar, Mayor of Alajuelita.
“In these conditions, kids don’t have all the support, especially when they are young and want to experiment, when they don’t have the guidance of a family. When a young person belongs to a group (such as those in the program), it is less likely that they will drift to the wrong direction, because the same group is in charge of pulling them along,” the Mayor explained.
The United States aids 33 centers with construction materials, including furniture, musical instruments, sports equipment and computer equipment. They also provide English, cooking, music, dance, sports and computer classes.
Modesto Alpizar mentioned that his canton recently received a donation of two motorcycles and a police patrol car from the United States.
Jill Biden was accompanied by Ambassador Cynthia Telles, the Casa Banca press team traveling with her and a huge security operation coordinated by local and US authorities.
As part of the event, the First Lady of the United States observed a demonstration by a group of girls who practice taekwonndo. Afterwards, Biden had a close look at the artwork created by the drawing and painting group of the Centro Cívico por La Paz, from the Capri of Desamparados local community.
Biden also observed the Police Athletic Leagues program, which consists of three major groups that practice boxing, swimming and soccer. She observed the dance group Emai, from the Municipal School of Integrated Arts of Santa Ana, as they performed a choreography. For the closing act, the San José Municipal Band interpreted the song Soy Tico.
The First Lady was really pleased with the program and encouraged young people to continue working hard and sharpening their talents.