Safe Streets honors community volunteer leaders

Safe Streets honored five Tacoma “Superstar” volunteers yesterday at its annual fundraising luncheon at the Sheraton.

“Our Superstars, Community Partner Stars and Stars create positive change in their neighborhood and help to build safer, healthier communities for all of us,” said Priscilla Lisicich, Safe Streets executive director. “It is because of the efforts of volunteers like these that Safe Streets can achieve its mission.”

Safe Streets, which began in 1989, is recognized nationally as a leader in community organizing, and is known for such activities such as reclaiming parks from gang members, restoring housing and other improvements.

“The answer is community empowerment,” said Mike Dunbar, president of the board of directors of Safe Streets, of reducing crime.

“Law enforcement cannot be everywhere at all times.”

The five Superstars – who exemplify the organization’s mission to unite neighbors against crime – honored were:
– Fred Brookshier, a South End activist who has lead efforts to close down drug houses and establish more neighborhood parks.

“I’ve only been here a few years,” he said, adding he’s seen Tacoma improve over the years and looks forward to helping provide a more livable community.

– “I’m so proud of myself and the community in here,” said Dareth Pak, leader of the Cambodian Classical and Folk Dance Group.

She’s worked to help keep kids away from drugs and gangs, as well as to educate parents about those dangers.

– A modest Jamie Jamtaas-Mousel, a 2002 graduate of Foss High School, said she didn’t know she would be the recipient of an award for her work at training other students in drug and alcohol prevention leadership.

“It’s been really fun for me for three years,” she said.

– Mike Darland, Tacoma’s Deputy Police Chief, was honored for spearheading many of the department’s community policing efforts, including training citizens as part of Safe Streets’ Neighborhood Block Watch Program.

“Actually, it’s been very satisfying helping the community I’ve served in for 31 years,” he said.

– Marcia Moe, who was unable to attend the event due to being out of the country, was recognized for her co-founding of the Tacoma Farmer’s Market.

She was inspired to do that after witnessing a drug deal on her way to work about 15 years ago, resolving to fill the streets with positive people.

In recent years, Safe Streets has increased its prevention efforts, and is now leading the fight to acquire funds for statewide meth lab eradication and treatment efforts.