(SEASIDE, Calif.) – Feeling safe can be tough for teenagers when news reports of gun violence and senseless tragedies are becoming a common occurrence across the nation. Teens in Seaside might feel a bit safer this week after a roundtable meeting and dinner with Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen.
Pridgen visited the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County (BGCMC) on Friday, November 16. The teens recently read the 2017 Angie Thomas novel The Hate U Give, and attended a screening of the 2018 film as part of BGCMC’s popular Book Club. Club members were so moved by the topics of police brutality and coping with the death of a friend that BGCMC staff extended an invitation to Chief Pridgen to build a bridge of communication between local law enforcement and Seaside youth.
Member Elizabeth Aguilar said she left the dinner with a better understanding of, and faith in, the Seaside Police Department. Aguilar observed, “Chief Pridgen seemed very aware of what is wrong and what is right, and how the police should act.”
“I like that we were able to talk to someone in a high position at the city about some of the important things here,” she said. “He was very thoughtful of everyone’s opinions.”
Pridgen answered a number of questions from the room full of teenagers, including suggestions on how to comply with a police officer when stopped, using a firearm in the line of duty, Pridgen’s thoughts on gun control, questions on becoming a police officer, and his thoughts on protests.
“I believe protests are integral to this country and to change,” Pridgen said. “Injustice affects me the most. It really bugs me to see people mistreated.”
For those interested in law enforcement as a career, Pridgen encouraged teens to eat healthy and stay physically fit.
Longtime BGCMC volunteer Nanci Perocchi helps run the Book Club and oversees the title selection process. Members read the book aloud and discuss their thoughts. After finishing the book, the teens celebrate with a party and watch the movie based on the book, if available.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County (BGCMC) has played an integral role in the community for over 50 years. BGCMC operates Clubhouses in Seaside and Salinas, providing a safe haven for over 500 children and teens a day with programs that focus on Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, and Good Character & Leadership. Club members are offered mentoring and guidance to maintain on-grade school progression, graduate from high school, and prepare for college and careers. Nearly 85% of the total budget comes from generous individuals, corporations and foundations. The Clubs are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. during summer and school breaks, and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. when school is in session. Additional information is available at www.bgcmc.org or via phone at 831-394-5171.