Luz Social Services, Inc. -> History

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See a listing of current activities here, as well as in our calendar section above –

Luz Social Services, Inc. (Luz) is a private, non-profit community based corporation founded in 1971 to provide health and human services to the Hispanic communities as well as the general population of Tucson. Through community mobilization and development, Luz continues to direct its resources to fight the consequences and associated problems of substance abuse, such as juvenile crime, school dropouts, DUI, violence, drug possessions and arrests, teen pregnancy, alcohol and tobacco use by pregnant women, and liquor law violations.

In 1989, Luz was one of the first agencies nationally to aggressively tackle the problems of substance abuse and gang activity with Padrinos del Sol, a three year federal grant which provided prevention and early intervention services to Hispanic and Yaqui communities in Tucson. These prevention efforts created the foundation for Luz to continue to provide community prevention services to high-risk youth, families, and communities.

In 1991, Luz received a five-year (1991-1996) federal grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) to develop a substance abuse community prevention partnership (Adelante Juntos Community Empowerment Partnership) which consisted of 17 towns including South Tucson and the Pascua Yaqui communities. In the five years, Luz worked with literally thousands of community members and hundreds of agencies to develop and implement comprehensive prevention plans.

Due to the success of the partnership, CSAP awarded Luz another grant (1995-1998) to develop a substance abuse community coalition–Los Tres Pasos. Los Tres Pasos Coalition, a blend of fourteen diverse communities, ranging from rural mining towns to urban barrios and reservation sites, is made up of three partnerships.

First, the Adelante Juntos Partnership is composed of a cluster of nine rural mining communities (Globe, Hayden, Kearny, Mammoth, Miami, Oracle, San Manuel, Superior, and Winkelman). Second, the Sueños del Barrio Partnership is in the heart of South Tucson, a square mile urban barrio community. This partnership has created for the first time in that area a strong network of more than 25 members who represent social service agencies, civic groups, schools, clergy, business, elected officials, parents, youth, and government entities. The third and final partnership is called the Yoeme Heritage Partnership and is comprised of four communities, New Pascua, Old Pascua, Yoem Pueblo, and Barrio Libre. These 14 distinct communities span approximately 125 miles, stretching through Tucson to townships across three counties (Pima, Pinal and Gila).

In September 1998, the success of Los Tres Pasos Coalition led to the receipt of another grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Adelante Juntos Coalition. Adelante Juntos Partnership is currently being transitioned to Adelante Juntos Coalition.

Luz is also supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Justice, Arizona Department of Education, Community Partnership for Southern Arizona, Pinal Gila Behavioral Health Association, Governor’s Division of Drug Policy, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Pima County Health Department, and Tucson Unified School District. Luz is the fiscal agent for both the Southside Governor’s Alliance Against Drugs and the Superior Governor’s Alliance Against Drugs.

The organization’s scope of services presently includes substance abuse prevention services such as: coalition building, capacity training, community development and organization, technical assistance, resource development, information sharing, public awareness and advocacy, and gang awareness and education. These activities allow us to find ways of building linkages and developing collaborative relationships among groups and communities, create viable, long-term solutions to the issues and problems identified by community members, and develop long-range action plans that utilize the creativity, talents, and energy within the communities.

Currently, training is also targeted at community systems, such as schools, social service agencies, law enforcement, government, coalitions, elected officials, behavioral health organizations, as well as families, parents and youth.

In summary, Luz Social Services, Inc., began almost a decade ago by working with a consortium to prevent gangs and violence in Tucson for three years. Subsequently, Luz administrated a five-year substance abuse prevention partnership program in 17 communities spanning three counties. Luz now manages a coalition of three separate and distinct community-based partnerships dedicated to community substance abuse prevention.