Boys & Girls Clubs in the local area are taking part in a variety of activities to celebrate National Boys & Girls Club Week, March 21st through 27th.

The Boys & Girls Club of Venice is hosting several events to emphasize the importance and value of the club to Venice and surrounding communities. As part of its celebration, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica has scheduled a Family Festival and Chili Cook-Off from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 27th at the club, 1238 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica.

“Our club is playing a vital role in many young people’s lives,” said Erikk Aldridge, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice. “In today’s economic climate, we offer a positive place for kids whose parents are seeking an economical, safe and enriching environment for their children and teens.”

Venice club activities planned for the week include “Spirit Day,” featuring arts, sports and music on Thursday, March 25th and a club-wide barbecue on Friday, March 26th. A community walk by the children, staff, and volunteers was held March 23rd, while an ABC7 “Listens” town hall meeting was held March 24th.

For more than 40 years, the Venice club has celebrated Boys & Girls Club Week in a variety of ways, all with an emphasis on five core club program areas: Character and Leadership Development; Education and Career Development; Health and Life Skills; The Arts; and Sports, Fitness and Recreation, Aldridge said.

The Santa Monica club’s family festival event March 27th will feature the annual Biddy Classic basketball tournament, a free barbecue lunch, college fair and the first ever chili cook-off contest. The event will culminate with an outdoor movie screening on the rear playfield after sunset.

Information on the club activities in Venice, Aileen Martinez at, (310) 390-4477 ext. 250, or for activities in Santa Monica, Tammy Ito at (310) 394-2582,