West Valley Boys and Girls Club Great Futures Start Here

Sharing Inspiration, Building Bridges
"Strong Youth, Strong Communities"
On November 10, 2017, Club members from our middle and high schools were invited by Centene and Health Net to an event called "Strong Youth, Strong Communities". Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees Darrell Green, Anthony Munoz, and Aeneas Williams, as well as Green Bay Packer Johnathan Franklin and women's basketball star and former Tarheel, Iman McFarland, shared their personal stories of adversity and perseverance. Our members were captivated by the experiences of these role models, who struggled during their youth and pushed themselves to succeed.
Afterward, the students broke out into groups. While discussing what they learned, the teens got to know each other, shared their experiences and began to see the similarities in one another, regardless of their race, religion, or gender. Connections and friendships were made.
Once the breakouts were complete, everyone reunited where they closed out the meeting with lunch, activities, and prizes. Members had tons of fun and couldn't wait to bring what they learned back to their friends, families and communities.

Investing in Club Staff
November Training Prioritizes Professional Development
Over the past few weeks the Club focused on the backbone of the organization: our staff. During the month of November program coordinators, site coordinators and youth development professionals attended a series of training sessions, including Boys & Girls Club Programming 101, LA Youth Development Institute, and The Club's Directors Academy. Topics included creating the ultimate club experience, identifying priority outcomes, communication techniques, building emotionally safe and inclusive environments, and strengthening leadership skills. Our team came back more motivated than ever to provide a positive environment for our members.
Hale Charter Academy Site coordinator Bernadette Lopez said, "At the training, we learned the Club's motto: 'Great leadership, great workplace, great club experience'. I love that this motto is saying that it begins with all of us staff as leaders, then we have to work together on our great work environment and keeping it that way".

The Club is committed to team development, and has more training planned for the coming year.  The staff look forward to refining our after-school programming to serve more members and create greater impact in young lives next year.

Ready, Set, Go into the New Year
Adidas Shopping Spree for Club Members

On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 25 Club high school students were treated to a shopping spree of $250 each, courtesy of Adidas. Lucky teens from our three high school sites -- Canoga Park, Cleveland and Chatsworth -- participated at the Adidas store at Westfield Topanga.  
Many thanks to Adidas for their generosity. Something as simple as showing up to school after winter break with a new pair of sneakers can mean a lot to our young members.

Setting Sail With Our Venice Partners


"It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage."

-- George William Curtis

 This fall, the Club partnered up with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Venice to introduce their sailing program to our members. Since late September, Club kids have been learning what it takes to be a sailor. Seasoned instructors taught members how to tie different types of knots, such as a bowline, clove hitch, and sheet bend. They instructed the kids, many of whom have never sailed before, in water safety.

On their final day of sailing this month, our budding mariners will be drilled on points of sail. Their hands-on practice and hard work will be put to the test in a sailing race against two other Clubs, San Gabriel and Venice.  Whatever the outcome, we know our Club members will be winners for having experienced the value of teamwork and gaining confidence from their newly acquired skills.

Scouting Adventures in Malibu Creek State Park

Club Members Experience Nature with Troop 642


Thanks to Eagle Scout Candidate Jonah Rudner and Boy Scout Troop 642 for including our Club kids in their adventures! Throughout the months of September and October, lucky members participated in a series of scouting activities led by Jonah. They made two box gardens, planted vegetables, made leather satchels, learned about nature, and took an extraordinary trip to Malibu Creek State Park. The outing included a nature hike, educational games, a communal cookout, and a campfire.


The goal was to teach all the participants about nature, teamwork, and the joys of the outdoors through engaging, enjoyable activities. Mission accomplished! Jonah and Troop 642 would like to thank everyone who participated in these events, and they look forward to more shared fun in the future.

David Gonzalez Brings Passion and Experience

Welcome To Our New Project Learn Coordinator


David Gonzalez, the Club's new Project Learn Coordinator, has years of experience in after school programs. He started working with LAUSD as a playground worker, facilitating an LA84 Foundation grant to support youth sports programs, and was quickly elevated to Middle School Site Coordinator. David also served as High School Coordinator for  a community-based organization. His last LAUSD position was High School Observer and Area Program Supervisor, where he managed program quality and compliance for more than 15 schools.  


David is committed to providing a safe and nurturing after-school environment for children. His passion and experience are a real asset to Project Learn and the Club.

The First Teen Night is the Scariest


On October 27, 2017, Club teens took part in the very first Teen Night of the school year. The Torch Club converted the Art Room and Learning Center into a spooky Haunted Maze. Festivities included a Mummy Race and Fear Factor, Halloween Edition. The Big Room transformed into a dance floor where members showed off their moves. Students enjoyed food, drinks, and music, and they eagerly await the next Teen Night.

Getting to Know You
The Club Puts Out the Welcome Mat
“Meet the Club” events were held the first week of September at Chatsworth and Cleveland Charter High Schools. Students were invited to explore our programs, such as College Bound, Career Launch, Keystone, Music Makers, and many more. And, because we’re all about FUN at the Club, there were games, too! Hula Hoop Challenge, a Doughnut Race, and the ever-popular “The Floor is LAVA!” challenge. Pizza, a raffle and music helped make the day a success.

A Parent Meet and Greet was held afterward, where staff members were available to answer questions about various Club programs, important dates, events and opportunities. It’s a safe bet that some of the fresh faces from that day will become familiar Club members soon!
Club Arts Programs Get Bigger, Better
Meet Talented Arts Coordinator Rafael Vaca

The Club’s new Arts Coordinator Rafael “Rafa” Vaca has an extensive background in music and arts programming. As an undergraduate at UC Riverside, he received a grant to bring hip-hop production courses to two high schools in Moreno Valley, and conducted research on the academic and social benefits of art programs for youth. During summer, he taught a digital music production seminar at the Club with students from various high school sites. Students learned the foundations of rhythm, beats, melody, sampling, production software and recording skills. By the end of class, they had recorded, mixed, and mastered two songs—quite a feat!

Under Rafa’s leadership, this year the Club is expanding its arts programming at all of our sites. Programs such as MusicMakers, DramaMatters, Fine Arts, and Digital Arts will showcase our youth's work and talent. Be sure to keep an eye out for event announcements.

DramaMatters will engage our elementary level youth in a full play production and culminate in a performance at the end of the fall semester. MusicMakers is a student-led performance program in which participants learn music production and organize music and art events to feature our members’ work in the community. Stay tuned for open-mic nights, battle of the bands, and partnerships with our Digital Arts and Fine Arts programs for music, art, and film festivals. 

Going the Extra Mile for Kids
Celebrate National Day for Kids with the Club's 10th Annual Mile of Quarters 
Day for Kids is a national day of celebration that invites adults to join Boys & Girls Clubs all over theworld in making a difference for kids in their community. For more than a decade, grown-ups and kids alike have participated in Day for Kids events as a way to advocate for youth. Day for Kids is a celebration of the life-changing work taking place at Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation, and a reminder that one day can change a child's future.
The Club will mark the occasion with our 10th Annual Mile of Quarters. Make a difference by joining us in "Going the Extra Mile for Kids" on Saturday, Sept.16, 2017, at the Westfield Mall, next to Islands Restaurant. It's absolutely free.
The fun begins at 10 a.m. and will feature quarters being laid out for one mile (5,280 feet) inside Westfield Topanga. With one foot of quarters equaling $3.25, every mile raised will mean $17,160 to support the Club's programs for needy youths.
The event will also include music, face painting, a deejay, dignitaries, and other entertainment throughout the day.
No child is ever turned away from the Club for inability to pay. That's why we need your support, with "change" that can change a kid's life! Please help us make this event the biggest success ever. For more information on sponsorship opportunities and the event, contact Tim Blaylock at t.blaylock@wvbgc.org.
Tim Blaylock Selected as New President/CEO
Succeeds Retiring Jan Sobel
Tim B. Blaylock, who has more than 27 years in the Boys & Girls Club movement, is the Club's new President/CEO.
He succeeds Jan Sobel, who is retiring after ten years of leading the Club.
Tim's career has included leadership positions at Boys & Girls Clubs from the State of Washington to Texas, and included 12 years as CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Oxnard & Port Hueneme. While there, he grew membership from 1,500 Club members to more than 9,000 and increased the organization from four to 18 sites.
As the President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica, he led a $3.8 million organization with more than $40 million in assets serving 4,000 youngsters. Prior to that, he was Director of Organizational Development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Pacific Region Metro Clubs, responsible for leadership development and training of the CEOs of the largest 100 Clubs.
He has earned numerous awards and honors from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and from the individual Clubs he has led.

To assure a smooth transition, and to introduce Tim to key members of the San Fernando Valley business and civic leadership, Jan will continue to serve the Club through the end of March.
According to Chairman of the Board Martin M. Cooper, “It was a comprehensive process, and we are confident that we selected the right person for this key position. We welcome Tim and count ourselves lucky that he has chosen to join with the best nonprofit board in the Valley to continue to expand our services to our region’s youth.”
Tim said, “The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley has a reputation of being one of the best-managed organizations in the entire Boys & Girls Club movement. I am honored to be taking the reins from as successful a leader as Jan Sobel, and look forward to new opportunities for our Club.”
Club Celebrates 25th Anniversary
The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley is celebrating its first 25 years of serving the youth and their families of the region through a yearlong program coordinated by the Club's Marketing Committee and implemented by all areas of the Club.
The goal of the program is to raise awareness and support of the Club and to enhance the community's perception of the Club and its benefits to the region and to its young people.
In addition to an updated logo, to be used on all Club materials throughout the year, all 2017 events will have a 25th anniversary theme.
Several media organizations have already signed on to help the Club raise awareness and obtain support from the community, including the Daily News and Laemmle Theaters. The Valley News Group is planning a six-page supplement in all three of its Valley newspapers.
The Marketing Committee is working on additional activities, including presentations to community organizations, a 25th anniversary-themed video, and new printed materials.
Keystone Teens Attend Premier Conference in Chicago
National Event Focuses on Character and Leadership Development
For the very first time, our Club sent representatives to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's ultimate teen forum in Chicago.
The National Keystone Conference provides members with opportunities to engage and socialize with peers, explore issues that are important to teens, and develop skills to support and enhance service and leadership efforts in their organizations and communities. This year's conference theme was ACTIVATE YOUR LEGACY.
The West Valley's Clubs Keystone's three Co-Presidents, Tiffany Haghighi of Canoga Park High School, Stacy Carlos of Cleveland High School and Evelyn Romero of Chatsworth High School found inspiration at the conference. "Going into the conference, I expected lectures on Keystone expectations," said Evelyn. "I soon realized the conference was not only on how to improve our Keystone Club but also how to motivate us to dream bigger...This conference has evoked a new leader in me and it has helped me see that I am capable of making a positive change in my community."
The conference attendees participated in Social Awareness, Mental Health, Fundraising for Keystone, Service and College and Career seminars. In between sessions, the girls explored the city, visiting Lincoln Park Zoo, Willis Tower, Millennium Park, and sampling deep dish pizza -- Chicago Style!
Youth of the Year Baljot Chahal Invited to Mayor's Residence
Women's Leadership Luncheon Series
at the Getty House
Baljot Chahal is already hard at work representing the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley. On February 11, 2017, Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland invited our Youth of the Year to their residence at the Getty House for a Women's Leadership Series event. The luncheon celebrated the contributions of civil rights icon Rosa Parks and social activist Susan B. Anthony, and featured speakers including Congresswoman Nanette Barragan and CEO of LA World Airports Deborah Fint. 
Several hundred guests attended the program, which promotes women in leadership and empowerment for Los Angeles area high school girls.
"I was honored to be invited," Baljot said. "Hearing the stories of the speakers, and their hopes and aspirations for the crowd, I was reassured of my path, motivated, and encouraged to continue to strive for a better future."  
Glimpse of Campus Life
Members Tour Local Colleges
The first step in preparing for college is to picture being there, even if nobody in your family has done it before. On Saturday, February 25, 2017, College Bound participants got a chance to explore community colleges up close and personal.
Elementary school kids visited Pierce College, where representatives from the Outreach and Recruitment Office treated Club members to a full walking tour of the campus, answered a barrage of questions and handed out Pierce College highlighters, notebooks, water bottles and other souvenirs.
Members learned about the college's signature programs, including Child Development, Nursing and Agriculture. The kids were especially delighted by the on-campus planetarium and farm. After learning about the transfer process and educational opportunities offered at community college, the young students took pictures, visited a renovated classroom and headed back to the Main Clubhouse for a hot lunch.

After visiting Pierce College, our high school College Bound participants made their way to Valley Glen to explore the less-familiar Los Angeles Valley College. Members were introduced to various college program offerings, and learned about resources they will need once they are on campus: admissions, counseling, EOPS, and financial aid.

Mission College in Sylmar was the last stop and became the highlight of the day when a friendly wandering dog joined the tour. The teens fed and watered their new companion, eventually delivering it to the school’s sheriff’s office so it could be reunited its owner.

These outings, funded by the generosity of College Bound donors, are memorable and can be life-changing for our members. Many of them will be first-generation college students; it is gratifying to see the spark of hope in their eyes when they realize that higher education is within their reach. 
Celebrating Heritage and Diversity
Flavors, Sights and Sounds From Around the World
Cultural AwarenessAt the Club, the month of March is dedicated to learning about ethnicities and cultures from around the world. Kids explore different languages, histories, art, games and foods. At the end of the month, families bring a dish to share at a multicultural potluck.
Twenty years ago, Club Vice President Kelsy Maruyama established Cultural Awareness Month to promote understanding and give kids a chance to learn about their neighbors. While dealing with a racially fueled altercation among fifth grade members, she became concerned that such young children were fighting primarily because of their disparate cultural backgrounds. Rather than disciplining the kids, she decided to educate them and help them appreciate each other for their differences.
It turns out that children enjoy the process of getting to know one another. The month-long program, culminating in the popular feast of many cultures, has become a staple of the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley's curriculum.
As the program evolved, community partners joined in to create an even better experience for Club members. To add to the ambiance this year, Farmers Insurance decorated the learning center with an Indian theme, US Bank created a Chinese and Syrian backdrop in the game room and the National Charity League gave the STEM room the look and feel of Nicaragua. Many thanks to these organizations for pitching in! 

Annual Exhibit Showcases 
Club's Artistic Talent
"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."  -- Pablo Picasso
It's no secret that arts education is underfunded in our public schools. The Club works to bridge the gap and foster not only creativity, but problem solving, visual learning, and overall academic achievement through art, as well.
On Friday, January 20, 2017, the Club unveiled more than 70 works of art and 34 photos produced by art program participants. Pieces were created by fifty young artists from the Club and represented a variety of media, including water color, acrylic, multi-media, pastel and charcoal, pencil and photography. Attendees voted for their favorite entries and the winners will be submitted to the Boys & Girls Club of America National Arts Exhibit and Photography Exhibit. 
Rounding out the event's celebration of the arts, Club members and emerging thespians Preston Salvador, Tiffany Juga, Ava Marie Perez and Alyssa Heard each performed monologues written by D.M. Larson.
Congratulations to the art contest winners:  
Ages 6-9
Ava Marie Perez age 9
Helen Nguyen age 7
Anya Lowe age 9
Annabelle Myles age 9
Melonie Maroquin age 9
Ages 13-15
Isabella Villon age 13
Samantha Aguilera age 13
Ages 10-12
Micah Keppe age 12
Kathleen Vu age 10
Gisele Martinez age 12
Meena Flores age 11
Kamryn Monroe age 11
Ages 16-18
Grecia Penedo age 18
Teens Face Off in College Knowledge Competition 
College Bound Members Show What They Know
College Bound teens vied for a trophy at the College Knowledge Competition, but the real grand prize will be getting into college.
Middle school students spent the fall semester learning the ins and outs of the college experience. They learned the differences between the college and university systems in California, discovered ways to finance post-secondary education and were introduced to Ivy League institutions that they might not have previously considered.
Program attendees became masters at recognizing school mascots. As they sorted out their Bruins, Conquistadors and Banana Slugs, they learned where universities are located and gained a better understanding of college entrance requirements.
The young participants got to demonstrate their college smarts in the first annual College Knowledge Competition. Students from the main Clubhouse and Hale competed in a "Family Feud" inspired game where they wowed the coaches with all they have learned. Good to know the kids are paying attention!
Teens from Hale Middle School took the trophy, but they're all College Bound winners to us. 
 Red Cross Teaches Emergency Preparedness
The Pillowcase Project
 Those who are well prepared rest easy.
On January 13, 2017, volunteers from the American Red Cross came to the Clubhouse, Blythe Elementary and Reseda Elementary to show members how to be ready for and respond to fires, earthquakes and other hazards.
The Pillowcase Project is an educational safety program aimed at students in grades three through five. Children learn the importance of having a communications and evacuation plan, how to recognize common dangers, and what they can do to prepare before disaster strikes.
Each member receives a pillowcase with instructions about how to proceed when an emergency arises. The kids decorate their pillowcases and are encouraged to take them home and fill them with their own preparedness supply kits, easy to grab and ready to go. 

Our 2017 Youth of the Year
Meet Baljot Chahal: Leadership and Civic Responsibility
Getting into college is difficult, but the freshman year brings challenges that are often overwhelming.
Baljot comes from a very traditional Indian family where women are secondary in the household. She was bullied in elementary school and middle school by her peers, which left her sheltered and alone. Then she joined the College Bound program at Cleveland Charter High School. At the Club, she came out of her shell, gained self-assurance, and flourished.
As a Keystone participant and College Bound devotee, Baljot visited a nearby elementary school, read to the younger students, and taught them about various universities. She ran for office--and won. Baljot is currently student body president at Cleveland and secretary of Baljot was selected as Youth of the Year because of the leadership she has displayed throughout her time at the Club. Passionate about providing support for students pursuing higher education, she inspires her fellow teens to be proactive, confident and forward-looking.
The once-shy Cleveland High teen has a talent for communicating with peers of different backgrounds and interests, combined with an enviable ability to motivate them. She grasps that as a leader she is already creating the positive change she wishes to see in the world by mentoring others and instilling positive values.

Lunch and Mentorship at College Bound Alumni Mixer
Graduates Open Up on Life Beyond the Acceptance Letter
Getting into college is difficult, but the freshman year brings challenges that are often overwhelming. So to help students survive the culture shock of college life, the Club threw a party.
The Club's College Bound program hosted its Fourth Annual Alumni Mixer on December 29, 2016. The event allows College Bound graduates to share an insider's perspective on the transition from high school to college. This year, more than twenty College Bound alumni attended, representing thirteen colleges statewide.
Program graduates offered insight on many topics including: the importance of seeking and utilizing resources on campus to assist with academic success; selecting and changing majors; how to purchase textbooks; how to pay for college; how to balance work and school; and the value of getting involved in clubs, organizations and volunteer opportunities. It was amazing to learn how much our alumni have accomplished over the past few years and heartwarming to hear that they still value what they learned as members of the Club.
A family style lunch gave current program participants a chance to mingle with alumni and ask more questions about their college experiences. The young crowd had fun mixing, mentoring and learning, and our college hopefuls gained many pointers that will help them get the most out of their future higher education paths.

Triple Play Scores New Talent 
Introducing Cesar Chavez

The Club welcomes Cesar Chavez, our new Triple Play coordinator. Cesar received his BS
 in Kinesiology from California State University of Northridge in 2014. D
uring his time at CSUN Cesar was a committed member of the Kinesiology Major's Club, recently dubbed the "Most Outstanding Organization" on campus, in which he worked with children on motor development skills and nutrition-education. His mission is to make an impact on children's lives by teaching them the importance of a healthy self and a healthy mind.
We are excited to have him on the team!

Keystone, Torch Members Give Back to the Community
Leadership Clubs Deliver a Thanksgiving Feast to Families
The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley recognizes Keystone and Torch Clubs, WVBGC's leadership programs, for their selfless acts of kindness and giving. Keystone and Torch banded together to sponsor Club members and their families for Thanksgiving. Teens worked diligently during the month of October and November to collect food for nine families of the Boys & Girls Club. 
On November 18, 2016, Keystone and Torch Club representatives hand-delivered grocery bags filled with fresh 16-pound turkeys along with all the fixings (stuffing, veggies, mashed potatoes, biscuits and pie) to Reseda and Blythe Elementary, Hale Charter Middle School and the main Club site. We couldn't be prouder of our youth for taking the initiative to help families in need. 
Holiday Festivities
December 16, 2016, was a joyful event for all Club members, with holiday cheer and celebration marking the last day of school before the long winter. Parties at the Club sites featured music, games and festive decorations. Tables were spread with delicious treats donated by the parents and staff. 
All the kids at Blythe Elementary opened their presents simultaneously on the count of three, generating a cloud of torn giftwrap and shrieks of delight. At Reseda Elementary, the older kids became Santa's helpers and assisted the younger members. Thanks to Farmers Insurance employees, the young members at our main site received personalized gifts, making the event extra special.
Thanks to our generous donors, we were able to distribute over 500 age-appropriate holiday toys including gift cards, make-up sets and Fun Mechanics Kits for our teens.
Thank you to the following organizations who provided gifts: Assistance League of the San Fernando Valley, ChiPs for Kids, Chaminade, Motor4Toys, Blue Shield of California, Councilman Bob Blumenfield, Farmers Insurance, and New Life Church of the Nazarene. Special thanks to volunteers from Farmers Insurance and National Charity League for helping us to wrap each and every toy.
Aspiring College Students, Save the Date!

FAFSA, Dream Act Application Help and a 
Chance to Win a  
On Super Saturday, January 21, 2017, the Club will open its doors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to assist families in completing and submitting FAFSA and Dream Act applications for the 2017-18 school year. Visit the main Club site that day to get your application questions answered by financial aid experts. Seniors who attend, submit their financial aid applications, and complete an exit survey will be entered into a raffle to win a scholarship for up to $1,000.

This fall, the Club's College Bound program helped 144 high school seniors from Cleveland, Chatsworth and Canoga Park High prepare for post-secondary education. Eighty-eight Club teens submitted applications to private universities across the country, to the Cal State University system, and to University of California campuses. The work continues in spring with community college applications. As the acceptance letters roll in, College Bound will help seniors secure financial resources and negotiate their next steps. 
Sixty-one percent of current College Bound seniors will be first generation college students in their families. Making sure they have the resources and support necessary to navigate the often bewildering college application process is especially important for those families. Programs like College Bound can have a profound impact on the community, and the Club is dedicated to helping local youth succeed. 
For more information about Super Saturday or College Bound, please contact the Club's College Bound Director Lili Lozano at l.lozano@wvbgc.org. 

Practice Makes Perfect
College Bound Students Refine Interview Skills
On October 25, 2016, College Bound members were invited to attend a round of mock interviews hosted by Tennenbaum Capital Partners. Along with BGC of Carson and Santa Monica, six high school students got to practice interviewing with two different professionals. As part of the program, College Bound participants brought two copies of their resumes and dressed in professional attire. 
Our members took away valuable advice on presence, preparation and delivery. The interviewers gave them feedback on their resumes. The teens appeared to enjoy their "dress rehearsal" and the seniors are eager to apply what they learned to their college applications.
Support the Club with Your Holiday Shopping
What's the easiest way to knock off your holiday gift list AND do a good deed for the kids in your community? Just shop through Amazon Smile. It's a simple and automatic way to support the Club every time you make a purchase, at no extra cost.
Amazon Smile offers the same low prices, selection and convenient shopping provided by Amazon.com. And for every dollar you spend, Amazon will donate a portion to the Club.
Click here or visit smile.amazon.com and select the West Valley Boys & Girls as your organization. And happy shopping!
  Collecting Plastic Bottles for Food
STEM Sustainable Greenhouse Project
With the assistance of Farmers Insurance representatives Raymond Cole and Delton Walker, Botany Club members are working on a gardening project that is sure to have a ripple effect on the community.
As part of our ongoing environmental efforts, Botany Club kids are building a greenhouse out of recycled materials to grow vegetables and herbs year round. We expect to complete construction of the greenhouse in January. In the process, members learn about responsibility and sustainability.
Beyond learning the actual science and practical skills, Club youth watch their efforts blossom and take hold. The goals is for them to take their new knowledge and confidence, and transplant that resourcefulness into in the community.
The Sustainable Greenhouse Project is one more way the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley creates a sense of belonging, builds strong communities, and plants the seeds for future success for America's youth.
Please Put an Extra Toy for a Club Kid 
on your Shopping List
With the holidays around the corner, the Club is seeking donations of toys for our members. Please help the children who may not receive gifts at home by donating an unwrapped new toy valued at $10 or more for ages 5 to 17. Bring your toy to the Club by Monday, December 12.
A Note of Thankenstein to our Phantom Volunteers
The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley would like to thank all the behind-the-scenes volunteers and staff for transforming the Club into our annual Spooky Maze. 
Representatives from Farmers Insurance helped prepare the Maze and manned game booths while Disney VoluntEARS plied their face-painting skills. Our little trick-or-treaters had a frightfully good time at a safe and caring Club.

Jan Sobel Retires After a Decade of Leading the Club

More than 600 years ago, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “All good things must come to an end.” That is equally true of the career of Jan Sobel, who is retiring as the Club’s President/CEO and concluding her professional career at the end of this year.

She will be one of the honorees at the Club’s Great Futures Gala on November 18, at the Warner Center Marriott.

When she joined the CIub ten years ago, it had a Board of six members, couldn’t pay its bills, had a deficit budget, and served 800 members with a very small staff.  The building was falling apart, with no heat, air conditioning, lighting, or decent bathrooms. Today, the Club boasts a Board of 27 business and civic leaders; enjoys a healthy financial situation; provides services to nearly 3,000 youngsters in a refurbished building; and operates a Teen Center and six school sites in addition to the main Clubhouse.

She says, “With the support of the Board, the staff, and our community, we have been able to turn this organization around.  It’s been a long haul and I feel as if I have contributed everything I was capable of giving the Club. For the past ten years, I have devoted all of my energy into making the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley the best that it could be.  I plan to retire and do some things that I have longed to do for many years.  I’m not sure exactly what that looks like yet, but I have lots of things on my bucket list.”

According to Club Chairman Martin M. Cooper, “I have worked with Jan when she led both the Encino and Carlsbad (CA) Chambers of Commerce, and of course, our Boys & Girls Club. I have never found a harder working, more dedicated, and more successful nonprofit executive. Never.”

Cooper concluded, “Of course we will miss her, but we have begun a wide search, not for someone to fill her shoes, but for someone to lead the Club to even greater heights.”He said that he hopes many members of the community will come out to honor Jan’s career and her successes on November 18.


The Club Helps Build a “Bridge to the Future”
CSUN Scholars Program Launches at Canoga Park High School

Twenty-five25 students graduating from Canoga Park High School in Spring 2017 will have the opportunity to be selected for the Bridge to the Future (B2F) Scholars program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).  Admission into this program includes four years of tuition-free undergraduate education and offers students experience in civic learning and peer mentoring, while they pursue a degree in the major of their choice.  

To help prepare students for college, The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley will provide workshops and counseling focusing on financial aid, SAT/ACT preparation, and organization of application materials.   Once enrolled at CSUN, B2F students will receive support and services to help them successfully complete a bachelor’s degree in four years.  

On September 29th, Canoga Park High School seniors got to meet community leaders from local elementary schools, City Council member Bob Blumenfield’s office, the Canoga Park Chamber of Commerce, Child Development Institute, Valley Village, New Economics for Women, Grandparents as Parents, Guadalupe Center, the Boys & Girls Club and other organizations that partner with NPA (Neighborhood Partners in Action).  Working with CSUN’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing’s NPA, students will commit to community service projects in Canoga Park as part of their B2F application.  

As the class of 2017 will be the first B2F scholars, these new CSUN students will be responsible for mentoring their peers who gain admission in future years, thus building a legacy of scholarship, academic proficiency, and inclusion among Canoga Park High School graduates at CSUN.  The Bridge to the Future Scholars program promises to maximize the impact of university and community activities to address the speciļ¬c needs of the Canoga Park community, while providing access to a high quality undergraduate education.  

Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley Receives National Award
Silver League of EAGLES Award

For the second year in a row, the Club has been recognized nationally for exemplary Board leadership.  The Silver League of EAGLES award, presented by Kevin McCartney, Senior VP of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Pacific Region, recognizes organizations for achieving 90 percent or more of the Key Performance Indicators for Strong Boards of Directors.  The special board awards program measures key elements of a robust board in the areas of engagement, resource development, leadership and service. 
Congratulations to the Best Board of Directors in the Valley; we are grateful for their support
of our mission!

Happy Haunts at the Club

Let the tradition continue!!! 

We invite the community to come out and enjoy a safe Friday Pre-Halloween night at the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley.  

On Friday, October 28, 2016, the Club will be transformed into a friendly gathering of ghosts and goblins of all persuasions. If you dare, check out our Spooky Maze.  Test your skills on game booths, brought to you by the Torch Club and Keystone. And of course, there will be music, arts and crafts, refreshments and more.

The “witching hour” begin at 5:00pm and wrap up at 7:30pm. We hope to see you all in costume this year for a fun-filled Spooktacular Friday.
College Bashes at the Main Site and Hale Middle School
College Bound Program Kicks Off a New Season
On September 7, 2016, Hale members and their parents attended our College Bound Bash. The same event was held at the Main Clubhouse on September 9 for teen members and families, complete with pizza, soda, chocolate "diploma" straws, and "class rings" (ring pops).
We began by asking questions about college in general. "When do you apply for college?" and "What are resources that help you pay for college?" This let students know that we were all learning together so they were comfortable participating.
Teens tried to guess what college or university the Teen Center staff attended. It was fun and inspiring for the kids to see their coaches as former or present college students too.  
We asked Club members to think about their "dream college" and the career they want to target. One of the teens shared their goal: to attend Oregon University and pursue a career in business marketing or as an actor." Another wrote that he hopes to attend "UCLA to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor."
A few exciting rounds of "college bingo" gave students a chance to have fun with their favorite university mascots. Winners received Chipotle gift cards. Students also earned raffle tickets by assessing educational true/false college statements, such as "College graduates enjoy their work more than high school graduates." Kids and staff explored why that statement is true, reinforcing the benefits of higher education. Besides, who doesn't enjoy a raffle?

A Warm Welcome to New and Returning Club Members
Back to School with the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley

Our kids actually look forward to Back-to-School at the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley.

To start the new semester, Club members were introduced to the programs in store for them this year. Abigail Lopez from Blythe Elementary School is excited to enter third grade, not only because she will learn to write in cursive, but also because she is finally old enough to participate in our SMART Girls program.  At both Reseda and Blythe, the 5th graders elected their leadership cabinet.  The newly appointed officers are ready to lead their peers to great things!

Our teens were glad to be back where they feel a sense of family after school.  It was gratifying to see old members showing new members around and making them feel at home. The kids played games and won cool prizes like college gear, gift cards and movie tickets. They held forth on their favorite Club programs. "I always look forward to the art," commented 6th grade Hale student Simone Heuck.

Our newest site, Our Lady of Peace, opened this month in partnership with Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley. Members played ice-breaker games and are very excited to be part of the Club.  

Thank you Farmers Insurance!!!
We always encourage Club members to volunteer, show leadership and be positive role models. Farmers Insurance has consistently led by example and came through once again by sending passionate/energetic volunteers to help our organization.

During the week of August 8, 2016, Farmers Insurance employees donated their time to assist Club staff in the much needed rehabilitation of our Canoga Park site. They took on tough tasks and the payoff was huge:

Learning Center – cleared, prepped, painted and decorated with new posters
Arts & Crafts Room –  received a thorough cleaning and a fresh coat of paint; shelves and cabinets were reorganized
Storage Room – everything sorted, labeled and organized
Trim and Storage Cubbies - repainted and ready for action
Back to School Supplies – pencils, erasers, paper, backpacks, tissue, scissors, crayons and more

Thanks to Farmers for helping us start off the 2016/2017 school year with a facility that shines like new. Our Club kids now have an inviting, well-equipped place to learn and “BE GREAT.” One day we expect they’ll follow in Farmer’s footsteps and give back to their community. too.

Hugs and Thanks to Aissa and Deisi
VISTA Volunteers Raised $169,000 and Measurably Increased Engagement

The Club bid a fond farewell this month to AmeriCorps VISTA Members Deisi Gonzalez and Aissa Fernandez.

Deisi was responsible for volunteer intake and curriculum development for College Bound and teen programs. Aissa worked on grants, solicited new donors, and community outreach. Their accomplishments over three years of service are impressive:

  • $169,000 raised
  • Number of volunteers recruited increased from 48 to 145
  • College Bound membership boosted 131% (291 accepted into post-secondary education)
  • Active Parent participation 900% higher
  • Fostered community partnerships with neighborhood councils and service organizations
  • Contributed to Club’s sustainability through training, organization, documentation.

Deisi values the work experience she received working with the Club, and is happy to have the opportunity to serve the community in which she grew up.  Aissa gained a new appreciation for development and how crucial it is to the core structure of any non-profit. “It’s hard because you get a lot of rejections,” she says, “but without development, everything falls apart!”

These civic-minded young women won’t be resting on their laurels. Deisi will apply to graduate school for social work with an emphasis on mental health.  Aissa has accepted a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in Senegal, where she will be working on malaria prevention and child health and nutrition concerns.

We could not be more grateful to our VISTA members and wish them the best in the next chapter of their lives. 

Bridge Program Helps 9th Graders Transition
Successfully to High School

Getting Incoming Freshman Off on the Right Foot at CPHS

Bridge Program
It’s tough being a high school freshman. The combination of unfamiliar surroundings, greater autonomy, higher expectations and new peers can be overwhelming, so it’s important to make sure that the first high school semester begins on the right track.

To help students transition to the high school environment, Canoga Park High School provides freshman transition services for incoming 9th graders. The Bridge Program introduces students to core freshman subjects: Language Arts, Math, and Science. In addition, English acquisition classes are available to designated English learners. 

The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley provides teacher's assistants to offer supervision, administrative support, and to help students with classwork. The Club is fortunate to have the support of CSUN, which sends tutors to help staff the Bridge program.

The collaboration of all three entities enhances and promotes our BGC program at Canoga Park High School. It creates the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our work to new students and the school's teachers. Participation garners newfound respect for our staff and program, and leads to better working relationships with Canoga Park High School during the year.

Above all, the Bridge program benefits the students by helping them navigate the crucial first year of high school successfully. We hope our involvement with the program encourages participants to join the Boys & Girls Club family for good!  
Teen drivers get a primer on road safety
5th Annual Great Drivers Program Educates Students on Safe Driving Habits
Thursday, July 14, 2016, the Club held its annual safe driving event, “Great Drivers Start Here" at the Boys & Girls Club Main Site. The safety program, designed for teen drivers, is sponsored annually by State Farm Insurance and teaches teens about safe driving. 
The presentation opened with a speaker from Impact Teen Drivers. The students then got a virtual reality lesson with a fatal vision impaired goggle activity provided by the LAPD. To wrap up the program, teens and staff participated in an “I Pledge” activity led by our own Keystone members. 
The Boys & Girls Club would like thank the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Impact Teen Drivers and the offices of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. Lastly, a very special thank you to State Farm Insurance for making this program possible.

College Bound Dramatically Increases Impact 
 Program Boasts 88% Success Rate
West Valley Boys & Girls Club is proud to share our College Bound program’s successes for the 2015-2016 school year.

This year our college access initiative served 674 high school students from Cleveland, Chatsworth, and Canoga Park High Schools, a 52 percent increase from the previous year.

Moreover, program participants achieved a jaw-dropping 88 percent post-secondary education acceptance rate.  Of 146 seniors, 130 were accepted into either a two-or-four year university, vocational school, or into the military, as follows:

Four-year college- 88
Two-year – 39
Vocational- 1
Military- 1

The Club is fortunate to have the support of several scholarship foundations and donors such as the College Futures Foundation, Phi Kappa Psi California Theta Colony, Board Chairman Martin M. Cooper and Molly Schoenfeld, Networking Plus, and Wells Fargo Financial Literacy. These organizations helped us procure $26,500 in scholarships for our graduating and alumni College Bound members!

Thank you to all our supporters and a profound THANK YOU TO THE COLLEGE BOUND TEAM for their dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of Club members.

“It is because of programs like College Bound that we can honestly say, GREAT Futures Start Here!” said Lili Lozano, the Club’s College Bound Director.
Celebrating 150 Brighter Futures
with College Bound

On June 7, 2016, the College Bound program hosted its fourth annual College Bound graduation ceremony in honor of the Class of 2016. The Graduation Ceremonies were held at California State University, Northridge, in the Grand Salon; there was an overflow audience of more than 220 happy parents, guardians, and supporters. It was the largest number of College Bound graduates to date! 

College Bound recognized the achievements of 150 seniors who will graduate from high school and move on to attend colleges and universities in the fall. Sixty of our most active participants joined us for the ceremony and shared the names of the colleges they will soon be attending; among them are: Pierce College, Moorpark College, CSU Northridge, CSU Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia, Mount St. Mary's and New York University.
We are grateful to have Assemblymember Matt Dababneh give our Keynote address and to have been able to distribute more than $26,000 in scholarships at our graduation!
Congratulations to the Class of 2016!! We are proud to have been a part of your journey and wish you continued success in all your future endeavors. 
Summer Camp 2016 Adventures
The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley 2016 Campers have been getting around!! Each day of the week a group is designated for a destination such as Warner Park, Scooter’s Jungle, LA Zoo and the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Every summer, the Club aims to create memorable adventures for campers to share with their friends and family. Summer Camp staff enjoy seeing the excited faces of our members as they prepare to board the Club vans. When we hear kids telling others about their fun-filled trip, we know we’ve done well!

If you know of opportunities for our Club members to enjoy, please contact Ruben at (818) 610-1054.
Mentorship Program Preps Young Scholars
for Higher Ed

For the second year in a row, the Club hosted College Knowledge Day at Blythe Elementary School on May 23, 2016. Cleveland College Bound members worked collaboratively with members at Blythe Elementary School to complete a college research project. For four weeks, mentors and their respective students worked hand-in-hand to research information that included tuition, location, type of university (public or private), notable alumni, most common majors and so forth.

Every mentor was paired with one or two students to form 13 groups. Each team had internet access, arts & craft supplies, a poster board and notecards in preparation for College Knowledge Day. At the three-week mark, each group practiced their 2-3 minute presentation showcasing what they had learned about their university. 
At the main event, family and students' elementary peers filled the audience as each group took the stage to present their project. After the last presentation, those in attendance had learned about the following universities: CSUN, CSULB, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin, Julliard, NYU, and USC.
To celebrate the College Bound Kids' hard work and newly acquired college knowledge, members visited our local university, CSUN. 

Reseda Elementary Club Kids Got Talent!
Club members at Reseda Elementary got a chance to shine at their annual Talent Show on May 26, 2016. In front of a packed auditorium, kids showcased their singing, dancing and karate talents. Fifth grade Club Leadership students also performed a dance number from the musical, "Grease." Parents, school staff and students enjoyed the program, and the performers did, too. "The kids love being on stage," said Juan Carlos Diaz, the school's Site Program Coordinator.  "And performing helps their self-confidence and poise."

Amazon Smile Teams up with the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley
Shop Online While Supporting the Club 
Are you an Amazon shopper? Now you can shop online while supporting the Boys & Girls Club! Amazon Smile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the Club every time you shop, at no extra cost.
At Amazon Smile you'll find the same low prices, selection and convenient shopping experience as you do in amazon.com, but with the bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the Club.
In order to start shopping today and help support the Club, please click here or you can visit smile.amazon.com and sign up to select the West Valley Boys & Girls Club as your organization to support.

To see more Club News, please click here.

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