SJPD S.T.A.R. CAMP
Chief Garcia watched the neighborhood of Poco Way and Arbuckle Elementary School struggle with gang violence and crime throughout his career. He decided it was time to do “a little more” and the “Un Poco Más” program was born.
With the "Un Poco Más" program, the San Jose Police Department (SJPD) is forming a strong relationship with the Poco Way community to build trust and a partnership. The program includes a SJPD community outreach foot patrol team funded by the Mayor’s office, and focus on Arbuckle Elementary School as a community center, providing school supplies, life skills classes, after school activities, mentoring, and ... a SJPD sponsored "S.T.A.R. Camp." (S.T.A.R. = Strength Truth Achievement Respect)
The SJPD "S.T.A.R. Camp" gives fourth and fifth grade students the opportunity to enjoy nature in the Santa Cruz Mountains at no charge, and to be with police officers in a creative and nurturing environment.
"It was my first time camping," said 9-year-old Jade Gonzalez, a fourth grader at Arbuckle Elementary School. "I never talked to a police officer before."
The officers connected to the children both as roles models as well as individuals sharing common experiences. As Chief Eddie Garcia told the children, "When I came to this country I couldn't speak English and my elementary school teacher told my parents that she didn't think that I would ever amount to anything. But look at me now. Achieving your dreams is possible for each and every one of you. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."