The diversity program is part of this department. More than 44,000 local elementary, middle and high school students, as well as more than 3,000 educators, community members and city staff have participated in the program. It develops greater tolerance and sensitivity, said Lopez, to cultural, age, ethnic, social and gender strengths. About 3,000 students from Little Lake Unified and Los Nietos Unified school districts and Santa Fe, Pioneer and St. Paul high schools annually participate in the summit. “They come together in the spring and work in identifying issues of diversity and then strategizing an action plan to take back to their respective campuses,” said City Manager Fred Latham. SANTA FE SPRINGS – The city was recently recognized for its diversity summit program by the League of California Cities with the 2007 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence. Established in 1982, the award honors outstanding cities that deliver the highest quality and level of service in the most effective manner possible, LCC officials said. The diversity program, which was established 17 years ago by students, teachers and administrators, was a direct response to the Rodney King beating incident and the aftermath of the verdict in the subsequent trial. “Students and teachers alike were concerned about what they were witnessing on TV,” said Anthony Lopez, director of family and youth intervention services. “We highlight everyone’s contributions and see the strength in our differences.” The summit costs the city about $12,000 annually and comes from the city’s general fund. LCC, when announcing Santa Fe Springs as a grand prize winner, said the program is proactive and reinforces respectful and healthy behaviors to achieve tolerant interpersonal relationships. “Next to receiving the All-American City award, the Putnam Award ranks right up there in prestige,” Lopez said. The recognition, he added, shows that the city, in conjunction with the schools, is on the right track combating intolerance. “We are giving them the tools to recognize inequities wherever they see them and to then deal with them,” Lopez said. The diversity program will be given another award Oct. 23 by the Coalition of Cities, Counties and Schools for its ability to foster a culture of collaboration among local jurisdictions. “We couldn’t be happier or more proud that the program has been so well received,” Lopez said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!