Danville Express

Newsfront - May 4, 2007

HERO aims to prevent disconnected youths

The images are clear: a mother and her son skating together; and a father listening to his daughter's music on her iPod.

They are part of the San Ramon Valley Coalition for Youth Safety and Development's advertising campaign, Here Everyone Reaches Out, or HERO, which was created to urge adults to get involved in their children's lives.

The coalition is distributing 10,000 posters and 40,000 bookmarks with one of four such images throughout the area.

The campaign, which was launched last month at the San Ramon Valley Community Center, is in response to a recent survey, which cited that youths have trouble finding a connection with adults. The survey was sponsored by the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

"We are trying to get into the minds and hearts of adults in the community," said coalition member and district spokesman Terry Koehne. "No matter how small a role you play in a young person's life, it can be heroic."

The campaign is targeting adults who are not already involved with kids, he said. The images in the ads include a mom and daughter doing their nails together, a mother skating with her son, a dad listening to his daughter's iPod, an adult and teen both wearing T-shirts of the rock group AC/DC. The ads feature residents from the area.

The coalition received a total of $20,000 from the district, the Town of Danville, the city of San Ramon, and Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary N. Piepho's Office. The group includes administrators from the district, town officials, parents and others from the Mt. Diablo Region YMCA.

Riley Design Associates contributed to the campaign, and the advertising agency San Ramon AlphaGraphics printed the materials at cost.

Koehne noted that future HERO campaigns may include bus stop advertising and public service announcements in print, radio and television.

"We are not pointing fingers," he said. "We want adults to think."

--Jordan M. Doronila

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