Author: erikkaldridge

Boys & Girls Clubs struggle to pick up the slack as some summer schools are forced to close

Every summer for the past 40 years, kids and teens have entered the Boys & Girls Club of Venice for an active, fun, and safe summer. This year has brought extraordinary challenges for the club located on the corner of Lincoln and Venice boulevards. Funding has decreased while the need for youth safety and development has risen. With the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) not providing summer school programming on its middle school and elementary campuses, the club is at capacity for the summer, serving 400-plus children and teens daily. Determined to keep fees affordable for parents and caregivers, the club has set its summer fee at $28 per week, while other programs at the YMCA average $28 per day. In addition to core development areas covered daily at the club, including education, the arts, fitness and recreation, and social recreation, the club provides breakfast, lunch and snacks to all members at no additional charge. This is thanks in large part to support from the L.A. Regional Food Bank program. “Every year, we receive calls from families looking for an affordable, and exciting summer program,” said Armando Diaz, associate executive director at the club. “In spite of the challenges, we are happy to help fill the void in the community. However, it is extremely important for the community to understand that we need their support to sponsor children...

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Michelle Shegda is education director of Boys & Girls Club, which provides homework help and after-school tutoring

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...

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Boys & Girls Club of Venice serves 400 in varied summer programs

During the summer, about 400 kids enter the 32,000-square-foot James A. Collins Youth Center, which serves as the main home for the Boys & Girls Club of Venice. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., club members engage in a variety of activities that not only keep them in a positive and safe environment, but also enhance their knowledge and skills in areas such as the arts, sports, fitness, social recreation and education. The club offers scholarships to club members who can’t afford to pay the $40 per week fee during the summer. “Every year, we receive tons of calls from families looking for an affordable and exciting summer program,” said Armando Diaz, director of operations at the club. “We are happy to help fill that void in the community.” In addition to activities at the main clubhouse, members get to attend specialty camps with club partners. Some of the camps attended this summer include basketball camps hosted by Kobe Bryant, Baron Davis, AC Green and Pepperdine University. Club members also spent a week camping in the Santa Monica Mountains at Camp Gilmore, explored marine life at Cabrillo Beach, visited the California Science Center, the Getty Museum and attended the Summer X-Games at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Other popular programs included the Fast & Fun Summer Sailing program, an eight-week program that taught sailing, kayaking and water safety....

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Venice Boys & Girls Club gets $41,000 support grant from LA84 Foundation

It was announced Wednesday, June 6th, that the Boys & Girls Club of Venice would receive a grant for $41,000 from the LA84 Foundation, formerly known as the Amateur Athletic Foundation. The grant will serve to support the sports, fitness and recreation program at the club. Current competitive programs under the Play Now initiative include basketball, soccer, flag football and sailing. Intramural recreation programs include volleyball, basketball, baseball, soccer and sailing. Over 700 club members annually participate in the various sports, fitness and recreation programs. “Sports at the club have kept us out of trouble,” says Eduardo Guerrero, a club member for four years. In 1984, the Games of the 23rd Olympiad brought the best of sports to Southern California. The city and people of Los Angeles demonstrated what can be accomplished when working together toward a common goal. Today, the spirit of the 1984ÝOlympic Games lives on. Through direct grants, sponsored programs and refurbishment of facilities, the LA84 Foundation has enabled millions of youths to discover and develop their potential by participating in sports. For over 20 years, the LA84 Foundation has provided insight into the most pressing issues in youth sports, guided coaches to cultivate the best in their athletes and strengthened the ties between generations and communities. To clarify public understanding, signal its renewed energy, urgency and commitment, and perpetually honor the spirit of the Games...

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Boys & Girls Club of Venice receives national Honor Award for Sports, Fitness and Recreation

The Boys & Girls Club of Venice received a prestigious Honor Award for Sports, Fitness and Recreation at the 2007 Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Conference in Orlando May 20th. The club received the award at the conference finale dinner in front of over 2,000 people. The Honor Award for Program Excellence in Sports, Fitness and Recreation is presented to a club conducting a program that is outstanding in helping young people become physically fit, positive use of leisure time, skills for stress management, appreciation for the environment and social skills. In recognition of its outstanding achievement, the club received a $2,500 cash award. Honor Awards for Program Excellence are presented for the most outstanding programs developed and implemented in Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. Each year, hundreds of entries are submitted in the five core program areas — character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation. The award, sponsored by the Metlife Foundation, is given to only five clubs nationwide that have demonstrated excellence in one of the five core program disciplines set forth by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The award was received on stage by board president Cathy Hession, executive director Erikk Aldridge and director of operations Armando Diaz. The club has a comprehensive sports, fitness and recreation program...

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