The Boys & Girls Club of Venice has officially begun its 40th anniversary celebration this year with the “It Takes One Annual Giving Campaign.”

The Boys & Girls Club mission is to enable all young people, especially those most in need, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

The campaign is geared towards raising funds critical for providing the support necessary to run the club’s after-school programs and services for youths ages six to 18 who are living in Venice and surrounding communities.

Scheduled to run through April, the campaign seeks donations primarily from individuals and businesses. The campaign’s goal this year is to raise $250,000 for the club’s annual operating budget.

“We are so excited to be celebrating the 40th year of serving the community and its youths,” said Cathy Hession, president of the club’s board of directors. “The campaign provides an opportunity for us to tell our story and get the much-needed funds to continue to offer these wonderful programs that help our kids get all the tools they need to become productive, efficient individuals in our community.

“I hope everyone participates, because every contribution can help us get closer to our goal of $250,000, which will enable us to continue to provide a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for our kids.”

Club executive director Erikk Aldridge added, “The Boys & Girls Club of Venice continues to prove that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

“Our staff is building character and leadership everyday in kids and teens during the critical afternoon hours when they need to be safe and productive.”

Funds raised will help provide quality after-school programs such as the Power Hour homework help program, computer skills training, career exploration, fine arts education, fitness and sports, and character and leadership programs, such as SMART Moves, Passport to Manhood, and Youth of the Year.

By concentrating on the children that “need us the most,” the club provides a sense of belonging, educational support, counseling and the tools for our children to make positive choices in their lives, club officials said.

Among the other 40th anniversary events are:

— Youth of the Year and Community Leader Awards, Thursday, February 28th, at Nike’s Western Region Headquarters;

— Second Annual Celebrity Golf Invitational, Monday, March 24th, at Calabasas Country Club;

— Boys & Girls Club Week Celebration, March 30th through April 5th;

— Alumni Recognition/Open House, Thursday, May 8th; and

— Westside Champion of Youth Dinner and Silent Auction, in October.

Information, (310) 390-4477, or