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Catholic Voice
 January 21, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Parishes organize groups
to attend Walk for Life events

Father Jerrold Kennedy dies unexpectedly at the age of 72
70 years of steering kids onto the right track
Isaiah Warren and Angel Jenkins are ready to carve pumpkins. On holidays, club organizers plan fun events for the kids, said Leah Reed, program director. Donors supplied the pumpkins.
Courtesy PHOTO

With gangs, drug use, violence and hopelessness all around them, the world looks rather grim for many of today's youth. However, the West County Salesian Boys and Girls Club in Richmond has been at work for nearly 70 years helping young people change that view for a better one.

The club is a good place for kids, said Judy Reed, the organization's executive director. "We try to make a difference. You don't always see it right away but then I run into young people who later tell me 'You helped keep me from going to jail,' or 'You helped me find a good job.'"

"We challenge them," she said. "We care."

The boys and girls club offers homework help, tutors, a nutrition program, and the space and time to work on anything from computers to science. The club's educational and recreational sports program focuses on "youth development activities that are designed to prevent and reduce juvenile delinquency," according to the organization's web page at http://bgcrsp.com. The program focuses on recruiting "children at the greatest risk of anti-social behavior."

Hot bath

When: Jan. 23, 6 p.m.

What: Fundraiser for the Salesian Boys and Girls Club

Where: The club's gymnasium, behind Salesian High School, 2801 Moran Ave., Richmond

In this iteration, a traditional northern Italian family dinner, Bagna Cauda (hot bath) is beef, chicken, shrimp and a large selection of vegetables placed on each table with a hot pot burner and cooked by the attendees at their tables along with friends or family.

Also: Live auction with prize packages as trips to Mexico and abalone dinners for 10; silent sports memorabilia auction.

Cost: $40 each.

Information: 510-215-4646 and http://bgcrsp.com
The Richmond center at 2801 Moran Ave., behind the field at Salesian High School, serves anywhere from 80 to 97 youth a day during the school year program, and average a daily attendance of 200 youth and up during the summer. Most of the young people are from Richmond and San Pablo. Many of them come from broken families, have an absent parent or parents, are being raised either by their grandparents or are in the foster care system.

New members are always welcome, said Leah Reed, program director at the West Contra Costa Salesian Boys and Girls Club. "Anyone between 6 and 18 years of age can join. The $25 annual fee covers the daily school year program, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., including most school breaks and holidays and summer. 'That breaks down to about 10 cents a day per child.'

The kids can join "clubs" — Club Tech, Art Club, Drama Matters, and the like. The clubs rotate throughout the year and sometimes offer cooking classes and outdoor activities such as biking, camping and hiking.

Field trips to the De Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences or a Warriors game give the kids the opportunity to get out of their neighborhoods and "see the world," Leah Reed said.

Programs offered at the boys and girls club make a difference because "we give our youth a family," said Leah Reed. "We want to give them the tools they need to be successful, the courage to do what's right, the confidence and self-esteem required to know they deserve the best education possible, the passion to pay it forward and give back to those that have less then them."

Fundraisers and cash donations help keep the doors to the West Contra Costa Salesian Boys and Girls Club open.

A popular fundraiser, called the Bagna Cauda, will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 in the club's gymnasium. The unique northern Italian dinner is cooked by the attendees at their tables along with friends or family. Beef, chicken, shrimp and a large selection of vegetables are provided and placed on each table with a hot pot burner. The event also includes a live auction that includes prizes of trips to Mexico, abalone dinners for 10, golfing packages and more. A silent sports memorabilia auction will also take place and be hosted by Art Thoms, a former defensive tackle for the Raiders. Tickets are $40 each. Tables for 8 and 10 people will be set up. For more information phone 510-215-4646.

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