My travels through our regions continued in California. It was a pleasure to meet some of the terrific Club professionals and supporters who make our Pacific Region stronger.
The trip began at the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier, where CPO Samantha Ridout praised our Formula for Impact. Our in-depth conversation included board volunteers, Jim Shepard of BCM Foundation, and Itzel Rodriguez, Whittier’s 2012 Youth of the Year.
I am always impressed when I meet a Youth of the Year winner. Meeting Itzel Rodriguez, Whittier’s 2012 Youth of the Year, left me feeling positive about the future and our nation's youth.
Then it was on to a luncheon in Newport Beach to meet local supporters. Thanks to National Trustees Brian Prinn, Mark Shurtleff and George Young for organizing the event.
Later that day at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, CPO Robert Santana showed me around the facility. It was clear to see they’ve eagerly adopted the Formula for Impact. In fact, the FFI model is even on their business cards. But Santa Ana’s onsite, no-fee health clinic is what makes it unique.
A partnership with Children’s Hospital of Orange County enabled the full-service clinic to open in 2002. Primary physician Dr. Mark Colon, also a board volunteer, has been there from the start. He said 25-30 Club members and community kids benefit from the clinic’s no-fee services every day. On the way out, I managed to squeeze in a foosball game with three Club kids. It ended with “the other team” winning, but it was fun!
That night, our friends at Taco Bell hosted a reception at their headquarters. It was nice to meet the many Club executives who took the time to be there.
It was great to meet up with Oracle Chairman Jeff Henley the next day. As Governor and Pacific Region chair, his leadership and intellect are invaluable to Boys & Girls Clubs.
At Toyota Financial Services, Vice President and National Trustee Mike Groff introduced me to President/CEO George Borst. We discussed the diverse support and energy Toyota brings to our mission. Our alliance could be a model for how the nonprofit-corporate collaboration can benefit both parties.
Later, a group of volunteers, supporters and professionals gathered at the offices of Trustee Skip Keesal for a great conversation and reception.
Fun is, and always has been, a big part of what we do every day at Boys & Girls Clubs. For me, playing foosball with these sharp kids from our Santa Ana Club reinforced the importance of play and social recreation ... and kept me on my toes!
CPO Mike Lansing welcomed me to the Boys & Girls Club of L.A. Harbor that afternoon. It was filled with kids – including one who beat me at pingpong. Mike introduced teens and staff involved in “College Bound,” their academic success program that helped 98% of Club 244 seniors graduate on time in 2011. All but 10 went on to college. Amazing work, particularly when you consider the 50% graduation rate before the program launched in 1999.
A working lunch with Jay Rasulo, Leslie Goodman and Kevin Callahan of The Walt Disney Company proved to be an excellent get-to-know-you session and discussion of partnership opportunities.
During an afternoon call on the Challengers Boys & Girls Club, CPO Corey Dantzler and I discussed the value of family involvement. At Challengers, parents volunteer five hours a month. It was also great to visit the East L.A. Club, as well as our Anaheim leadership.
The week ended by meeting the CPO and board volunteers of the Watts/Willowbrook Club and an evening reception with several Club professionals at the home of Sally and Allan Young of the Pacific Youth Foundation.
It was an honor to meet so many dedicated Club staff and supporters on this trip and talk with our young people. In coming weeks, I’ll visit several more Clubs. As usual, I’ll bring you the latest details right here. Your comments and feedback are encouraged.