The Boys & Girls Club of Venice appointed Venice resident Michelle Shegda as its education director earlier this year.

Under the direction of Shegda, a Pennsylvania native, the Boys & Girls Club of Venice provides after-school homework help and tutoring for club members, as well as a variety of character and leadership development programs.

The club provides support to over 400 club members daily during the academic school year. The club operates its programs at four sites — the James A. Collins Youth Center main site on Lincoln Boulevard, Venice High School, Coeur d’Alene Elementary School and Short Avenue Elementary School.

Supporting education and fostering a learning environment have always been a cornerstone of the club’s programming mission. The club received a boost in its education programming when Shegda was hired in May.

She received her Bachelor of Science from LaSalle University, and a master’s in education from Temple University.

“My main goal,” said Shegda, “is to make the learning center a fun and exciting place for learning.”

Shegda is primarily responsible for facilitating homework help and tutoring for all ages, the United Way’s Tomorrow’s Leaders program for club members in grades five through eight, the Junior Leaders program for club members in grades one through four, and the S.M.A.R.T. (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) girls program for club members eight to 17 years old.

In addition, she organizes the club’s mentoring program, the Time to Read program, the College Bound program for teens, and the Torch Club program, which is a leadership program for middle school students.

“If there was one thing I could add to the learning center it would be more technology,” she said. “At-risk kids are falling behind in knowing how to use the academic elements of technology.”

Over the past ten years, Shegda has honed her skills in working with at-risk youths through a variety of jobs from teaching to coaching. Her diverse background allowed her to find her true passion for youths, education, and developing healthy lifestyles.

At the Boys & Girls Club of Venice, Shegda is able to combine her experiences to really make the Learning Center a “Positive Place for Kids.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Venice is located at 2232 Lincoln Blvd., Venice.

Information, (310) 390-4477, or www.bgcv.org/.

[Erikk Aldridge is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice.]

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