Christina Ivazes

Daily Point of Light # 1206 Sep 17, 1998

Christina Ivazes is passionate about helping at-risk kids. She devotes all of her free time, between 40-60 hours weekly, to helping these youth. Her home is open to those in the community whom need a listening ear. Ms. Ivazes is a part-time teacher at an alternative high school in Grass Valley and she devotes every opportunity to serving the kids in the school. She has a unique gift for relating to at-risk youth; she herself was once homeless.

Ms. Ivazes is involved in a community project called "Adventure Playground"(APG), a youth center built primarily by disadvantaged adolescents. The purpose of APG is to motivate youth to get off of the streets and become involved in other activities. APG's goal is to nurture youth by supporting the development of each individual via building qualities of value, self-esteem and leadership skills. The community where Ms. Ivazes resides is extremely small and there is a lot of friction between the young people and elderly.

Ms. Ivazes became involved with the youth because of her belief that if the youth are part of the problem, they must become part of the solution. As she spends time with youth, Ms. Ivazes helps them understand the needs of the community. Finally after four years, APG has built a skateboard park with the disadvantaged youth. This was necessary in Brazos Valley, where adults felt overwhelmed by the hundreds of kids skateboarding on the streets. Now the youth feel they have a place where they can be themselves. This has truly eased the tension between the youth and seniors and has unified the community in a productive, lasting way.

Through Ms. Ivaze's work, the community has truly been changed. Her success comes from earning the respect of the elderly, while earning the trust of the youth. Now, thanks to Ms. Ivazes' efforts, foundations are paying closer attention to social problems and more people are becoming involved in solving them.