Safe Streets hired a new, full-time community mobilization specialist for its Key Peninsula satellite office. Mike Babauta, a resident of Lacey, started his new job in December. His previous job was as a program assistant for Community Youth Services in Olympia, following two years in the AmeriCorps.

Mike Babauta

“I’m really excited about this new challenge, and learning about the community and the people,” he said.

Babauta said once he completes his training and meets with various local groups and neighborhoods, he will be able to narrow down his priorities and focus on the top issues. He said his primary role will be to serve as a resource for the Key Peninsula/Gig Harbor area for safety related issues.

Moni Hoyt, Safe Streets operations manager, told the Key Peninsula Community Council at its December meeting that the role of Safe Streets and the relationship with Community Council will change, and Babauta’s role will be primarily to mobilize groups and neighborhoods. He said Safe Streets will come up with an agreement with the community council board in a few months once Babauta is settled in his job. Hoyt said Safe Streets would like to continue its partnership with the council, as well as several other local groups Safe Streets has supported, including Teens Empowered Against Meth (T.E.A.M.), a Peninsula High School club.

“We are severely understaffed, as most nonprofits are these days, but we’re working hard to create and continue partnerships,” he said. One of the new Safe Streets programs that Hoyt hopes to bring to the Key Peninsula is called Meth 360. The program, implemented in 2006, brings presentations by law enforcement and other agencies to communities on various aspects of methamphetamine.

“The number of meth labs in Pierce County has dramatically decreased, especially this year (2006), but the problem still exists,” Hoyt said.

Babauta plans to maintain regular office hours at the Key Center Safe Streets office once his training is complete. The office may be reached at 884-7899.