WATSONVILLE — Several pieces of heavy equipment were grinding away at the site of the new addition to Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance (PVPSA) on the corner of East Lake Avenue and Brewington Avenue last week.
Fish Williams, finance operations director of PVPSA, said “construction is fully under way and we are very excited by the progress.”
PVPSA broke ground and kicked off the $3.1 million project in September 2018. The building on the property formerly held medical offices and current plans call to 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 an integrated behavioral health service center and a drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
“Having everyone under one roof allows us to offer better quality of service to our community,” Williams said. “The main goal is better quality of care. The new facility will also feature a large conference room that can function as a community room, a space where other non-profits can meet in large meetings."
PVPSA raised $2.7 million through a capital campaign to fund the facility.
Meanwhile, PVPSA was recently named Advocacy Organization of the Year by United Way of Santa Cruz County. The award is part of the Community Builder Awards, and will be handed over at a special ceremony on April 25 at Seascape Gold Club in Aptos.
“It is such an honor to be recognized by the United Way of Santa Cruz County, an organization that focuses on building strong communities through the investment in our youth and families, much like PVPSA,” Padilla-Chavez said. “This is coming at a critical time during our community Capital Campaign to build our new counseling center — Kids Korner Plus! — which will allow our organization to address our waiting list and meet the growing need for our services.”
Williams said “PVPSA is now 90 percent through our capital campaign of raising funds for this building. We’re just starting to launch the public campaign to local businesses and individuals in hopes they can help out with project that will overall help the community.”
Created in 1991, PVPSA was launched to provide counseling services for the 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.
“We’re anxious to beautify that corner with a little more shine and sparkle and make that entrance point to Watsonville a better place,” Williams said. “We’ll anchor this block with our two locations that are in close range to E.A. Hall Middle School, Mintie White Elementary School and Watsonville High; this makes us a key location. We excited to watch this go forward. Now that the rain has largely stopped, we’re aiming for completion in December.”
The Community Builder Awards recognize the many volunteers, business partners, community leaders and organizations who partner with United Way to create a more vibrant community. The annual event highlights awards to the community’s leading contributors to youth well-being.
Williams said information can be found about their services, fundraising and more at www.pvpsa.org.
Editor's note: This article will publish in the April 26 edition of the Register-Pajaronian.