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VAN NUYS : Peacekeeping Youths Rewarded for Efforts

July 23, 1994|ED BOND

They walk away from fights and pull their friends away from arguments. They are peacemakers, and Sunday they will be rewarded for keeping out of gangs and away from violence.

"These kids are doing a lot of great things," said Abel Sedillo of the Los Angeles County Office of Education's Friday Night Live program.

Sedillo will take about 40 youths from tough neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley to the Great Western Forum in Inglewood to meet with the members of the Los Angeles Blades, a professional roller blade hockey team formed last year.

The Blades will play the Edmonton Sled Dogs at 4 p.m. In its second season, the team has a 10-3 record and a current six-game winning streak.

The youths also will meet ice hockey player Bobby Hull, who will be a guest assistant coach for the Blades. Hull's son, Bobby Jr., is the Blades' head coach.

"These kids have earned this trip," said Carol Adams, who is with the Acknowledge Reward Kids program, which works with Friday Night Live to encourage youths to be peacemakers rather than gang members.

About half of the 40 youngsters Sedillo will take to meet the Blades come from the troubled Blythe Street neighborhood in Van Nuys, the rest from the projects in Sylmar. Blythe Street is an area with a reputation for crime and gang activity, but Sedillo and others working there say that what the youths need are more activities and programs to give them alternatives to gangs.

Youngsters in the Friday Night Live program also try to raise money for trips. Today, the group of Blythe Street kids will hold a carwash at 7555 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to raise money for a trip to Magic Mountain.

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