south county youth task force handball tournament
The South County Youth Handball Tournament at San Ysidro Park took place on June 10, featuring food, prizes and competition. Contributed photo

South County Youth Task Force (SCYTF) and its community partners have been busy at work this spring and start of the summer to create a welcoming, responsive and unified South County. 

This year’s work began with “The Day of the Child,” the first event in the Party in the Park annual series. Celebrated across Latin American countries, “The Day of the Child” honors the community’s youth as it exposes them to various arts and activities. The SCYTF, in partnership with the City of Gilroy Recreation, Neighborhood Safety/Services Unit, Rotary Club of Gilroy, Rotary International, the Gilroy Police Department, Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Gilroy Youth Commission, put its own spin on “The Day of the Child” to cater it toward our immediate community’s youth and promote inclusivity. 

On April 29 at San Ysidro Park, South County residents gathered to take part in various arts and crafts, led by Gilroy teens and resident leaders. Residents also enjoyed a free petting zoo with a wide array of animals, including chickens, goats, and rabbits. Many youth and their families were wearing huge smiles as they enjoyed all the resources offered, all while basking in South County’s signature sunshine. 

In total, more than 500 residents attended “The Day of the Child,” and were able to experience the immense amount of work that SCYTF and its partners put in to create such a unique and inclusive event. 

The South County Youth Handball Tournament was the second event put together by the SCYTF and its partners for the Party in the Park series. The event took place on June 10, with more than 100 South County residents present at San Ysidro Park to either participate or watch the tournament. This was an excellent collaboration with nonprofit organization Empowering Our Community for Success, and Gilroy Recreation. 

Youth under the age of 17 worked together in teams of two to compete for the alluring prizes of the day. The smell of fresh tacos wafted through the air as the sound of lively music and friendly chatter filled attendees’ ears to create an atmosphere that was undeniably ladened with a refreshed sense of comradery. Youth brought their uncles and aunts, parents and grandparents to cheer them on.

Family Fun Night was hosted by Community Solutions and the Gilroy Innovators on June 16 in partnership with SCYTF agencies to include the City of Gilroy, Tacos del Guero, County of Santa Clara Office of Gender-Based Violence, and Safe Zone. It was the third event in the Party in the Park series. 

As an overall celebration of our community’s families, this event featured free food, music, a resource fair and arts and crafts, and prizes for raffle. Residents were provided access to different types of resources offered by organizations whose main objective is to support the community and its residents. Family Fun Night had more than 700 participants come together to exemplify the event motto, “With more communication, there is more connection.”  

The fourth event of SCYTF’s Party in the Park series, Summer Movie Night, transformed Alexander Station into its own Casita as the smell of buttery popcorn, chirps of unbridled laughter, and an overwhelming sense of community wafted into the streets that surround the apartment complex. On June 21, the South County Youth Task Force Alexander Station Committee, with participation from E.O.C.S., Gilroy Unified School District, the City of Gilroy, Aperto Property Management, New Hope for Youth, Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Rebekah Children’s Services, Department of Family and Children’s Services Prevention Bureau, Community Solutions, Neighborhood Safety/Services Unit and FLY, hosted a summer movie night featuring “Encanto.”

The goal of the Alexander Station Summer Movie Night was to embrace a sentiment expressed by “Encanto’s” Mirabel Madrigal: “This is our home; we’ve got every generation… So many stars, and everybody gets to shine.” SCYTF, Alexander Station and its partners designed this event so individuals across various demographics could come together and cultivate a sense of camaraderie, family and pride for their home. Two hundred residents attended the event.

Before the event began at 7pm, youth arrived to ask volunteers if they needed any assistance getting the event ready.

Youth were not the only ones who felt the community-building effect of this event. Parents, adult residents, and community volunteers were seen chatting with one another, exchanging phone numbers, and creating new friendships for support in the future. The success of this event will not be short-lived, as the SCYTF Alexander Station Committee and its partners plan to host another summer movie night in July.

The Day of the Child, South County Youth Handball Tournament, Family Fun Night and Alexander Station Summer Movie Night are just the beginning of what the SCYTF and its partners have in store for the rest of this year in Gilroy as part of their new three-year Strategic Plan, Project II THRIVE! To continue the celebration this summer, the SCYTF and partners will be bringing Party in the Park to San Ysidro Park on July 22 from 5-8pm, and National Night Out at the grassy paseo (between the Gilroy Library and City Hall) on Aug. 1 from 4:30-8pm. 

To learn more about past events, upcoming events, free community trainings and workshops, or to review the Strategic Plan, visit

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