(A crowd showed up for the groundbreaking ceremony at the new Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance facility on East Lake Avenue Wednesday. Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)
WATSONVILLE — Sometime next summer, Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance hopes to open a new location that will allow the organization to expand its services in Watsonville.
PVPSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at 411 East Lake Ave. Wednesday to kick off the $3.1 million project. The building on the property formerly held medical offices. The organization will keep parts of the original structure while expanding the footprint, CEO Erica Padilla-Chavez said.
Organization officials say the expanded facility will offer a central location for staff and space for support groups, therapy sessions and community gatherings.
PVPSA raised $2.7 million through a capital campaign to fund the facility.
Padilla-Chavez said the new space will help PVPSA serve an additional 1,400 children per year. The organization currently serves more than 6,800 young people, in addition to providing education and support for more than 750 parents, Padilla-Chavez said.
“It’s super exciting that we’re here,” she said. “It’s been a couple years in the making.
“My heart is more than full right now.”
Created in 1990, PVPSA was launched to provide counseling services to Pajaro Valley Unified School District.
The organization takes referrals from teachers and school officials, and then follows up with personalized socio-emotional counseling in the school or the student’s home.
PVPSA has about 60 counselors spread throughout the district, who also provide school-wide services during crises that affect the school.
PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez said that PVPSA is one of the only of its kind in California that provides “wrap-around” services.
Such services, Rodriguez added, help students succeed in school and prepare them for college and career.
“That can’t happen if we’re not taking care of the whole child,” she said.