BGC Brief - Fall 2022

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Board of Directors Rob Duchow

President of the Board Southern California Gas Company

Amir Zabrani Treasurer Wells Fargo

Matt Damian Secretary Artes Capital

Alan Avery

Kern Health Systems

Alex Balfour

Cushman and Wakefield/Pacific Commercial Realty Advisors

MacKenzie Boone Ascend Real Estate

Michael George Safe 1 Credit Union

Rasmus Jensen Tri Counties Bank

Chad Jones

California Resources Corporation

Larry Koman Koman Homes

Ben LeBeau

LeBeau Thelen, LLP

Marivic Louey

Kern Oil & Refining Co.

Kristin Monsibais

Immediate Past President Williams Adams & Company, CPAs

Derek Robinson Bakersfield College

Lisa Rollans

Community Volunteer

Bryce Sterling

Laurel Ag & Water

Zane Smith

Letter from our Board President When I was first introduced to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County and joined the board of directors more than a decade ago, we had just passed the 3,000 threshold in number of kids served each day. It seemed like a lot, and it was uncertain how much larger we could get. Concerns included staffing and financing – we didn’t want to get too big too fast and not be able to serve the kids we already had. But the staff and board focused on the Club’s mission: “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” Today, as I am honored to become board President, the number of kids the Club serves each day has surpassed 8,000, and the board and staff leadership are still having the same discussions about how many more kids we can serve and how we can get there at a responsible and sustainable rate of growth. In my mind, I see no limits on how big the Club may grow to be, because there is no limit on the number of kids in our community who need a hand up from a person or group such as the Boys & Girls Club to reach their full potential and achieve the success they can have. While the staff operates programs and the board provides oversight, none of this growth or service to kids would be possible without you, our supporters and donors. Whether you attend an event each year, donate monthly or annually, or volunteer on occasion, your support is what allows the Club to provide invaluable services to kids. Our 8,000 kids are spread across nearly 70 sites, on school campuses from Lake Isabella to Gorman, and at our standalone sites in Bakersfield and Lamont. They come to the Club for homework help, mentoring, top-notch fine and performing arts programs, sports activities, and to just hang out with friends away from trouble after school. The Club’s staff and board are working to grow our partnerships with area school districts, to bring these services to more kids. As we continue to expand the Club’s reach to more children in the future, we look forward to and thank you in advance for your continued support. If you are looking for an opportunity to get more involved, enhance your support, or to introduce someone new to the Club, the upcoming Farm to Table(aux) on October 7 is an ideal opportunity. Get your tickets now to spend an elegant and fun evening supporting the Club, and you’ll have an opportunity to visit with and hear from some of the Club kids who you are helping to reach their full potential.

Executive Director

The board, staff and kids, all hope to see you there.

Barry Hill

Jason Cohen

Rob Duchow

Gloria Williams

Rob Duchow President of the Board

Associate Executive Director

Legacy Board UBS Financial Services, Inc.

Aera Energy LLC

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Ivanna working in the Learning Garden

“I like art class because I can express my feelings in my drawings,” said eight-year-old Ivanna when asked what her favorite subject is in school. She went on to say, “I don’t recommend using watercolors if you are trying to paint something small though!” That’s some sound advice coming from this young artist. Ivanna, a student at Frazier Park Elementary and a member of Frazier Park Boys & Girls Club has been coming to the Club for about two years along with her younger brother, Oliver. They’ve participated in both the afterschool, as well as the summer programs. Ivanna’s mother signed them up after Ivanna brought home some information from school about the Club and said that it looked fun. And it helps that her best friends also attend the Club. Since coming to the Club, Ivanna has been very active in the cooking (nutrition), art, gardening, coding (STEM), and cultural awareness programs. Her

Frazier Park Elementary School, Frazier Park Boys & Girls Club

favorite, of course, has been the art program where she learned about watercolors while painting a picture of a bird. She also enjoyed an American Flag painting project the class worked on as well. Ivanna also mentioned that she really likes working with staff members, Ms. Chelsea and Ms. B [Bishop] because they are kind. “Ivanna is very mature for her age and helps take care of her brother in so many ways. She always has a great attitude, follows directions, is responsible, caring, and is a great role model for her peers. She is artistic and seems to always try her best. Ivanna demonstrates good character and is a friend to anyone in need,” said Stephanie Bishop, Frazier Park Program Specialist. When Ivanna is not in school or at the Club, she enjoys watching TV, playing outside, or using her phone. Her favorite toys are her dolls because she has lots of clothes for them and she enjoys changing their outfits. She hopes to someday get an American Girl doll. In addition, Ivanna helps take care of horses, roosters, and ducks at her mom’s employer, as well as her family’s appropriately named cat, Cat—although admittedly she is sometimes called Princess! When we asked Ivanna what she would tell other kids who are not Club members, she said, “I would say that it’s a fun place where you do fun things with your friends. It’s just GREAT!”

Ivanna making a new friend.

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For more information on the local 67 Boys & Girls Club’s after school programs, go to bgclubsofkerncounty.org/afterschoolprogram.


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“My daughter isn’t really athletic, but she really wants to learn about volleyball because a lot of her friends are in the Boys & Girls Club Volleyball clinic,“ shared Lisa on the phone when she called to inquire about our athletic programs. We have conversations like this on a regular basis—a child from modest circumstances may not have the resources nor the cultivated skills to play Club Sports but would like to try something that other kids are doing athletically. In usual Boys & Girls Club fashion when we find out that there is something in the community that can be challenging for the youth we serve, we had a team meeting specifically to address girls’ volleyball and what resources we would need to start building a program. Fortunately, Savanah Cano, Club alumna and well recognized volleyball athlete and coach was part of the team. She grew up in the Club and continued working summers with us while she went to college in Arizona—on a volleyball scholarship. Now back home in Bakersfield, Savanah is teaching high school and coaching sports, so we reached out and literally tossed the volleyball in her court. Immediately she started making phone calls and organizing with other Boys & Girls Club staff and volleyball athletes to orchestrate our first ever, volleyball clinic. We agreed that we would start by creating a clinic for young women of all skill levels with the focus on learning the sport, building self-discipline, commitment, teamwork, and confident attitudes while maintaining high levels of good sportsmanship. Our primary goal is to provide the best skills and experience to help our club members reach their

Romi Cyrus showing the proper way to serve. highest potential and make it as fun as possible. The best part, we have role models like Savanah mentoring these young ladies and creating an environment of support, openness, and encouragement. Character building and enrichment opportunities are recurrent themes in every core program that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County offers. Our athletic opportunities for the boys and girls of Bakersfield and the surrounding communities are merely extensions of our philosophy and afterschool programs. These Club programs help develop physical fitness, strengthen interpersonal skills, reduce stress, and promote a positive use of leisure time. National statistics show that 41% of twelfth grade Club girls participate in daily physical activity, compared with only 29% of non-Club girls. And 80% of Club alumni say that the Club had a positive impact on their attitude toward fitness and health. These programs help to develop young people’s capacity to engage in positive behaviors to nurture their own well-being, set personal goals for themselves and grow into well-rounded, selfsufficient adults. Prior to the pandemic, the Club conducted clinics and leagues for basketball, soccer, and flag football and we hope to bring these sports back to our Club in the near future.

Savanah Cano demostrating how to pass a ball.

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For more information about Boys & Girls Club athletic and other programs, please visit our website at bgclubsofkerncounty.org or call us at 661-325-3730.


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Fanny Gama from McDonald’s to McFarland with Lots in Between ®

She may have been born in the Bay Area and raised in Stockton, but Fanny Gama found her happy place here in Bakersfield at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County. We are so glad she’s here! Not only is Fanny a rockstar staff member of the Club, she’s also a former Club kid herself. One of four children—and the only girl, Fanny started going to a Club in the Stockton area when she was in fourth grade. And, during her time as a Club kid, she took full advantage of the basketball and dance programs offered at that Club. Fast-forward a few years and Fanny was quickly showing what an incredibly responsible and driven young person she was becoming. Even though she had enough credits to graduate as a Junior, she stayed in school for her senior year attending for just half days and then working two part-time jobs. At age 16, Fanny started working a few hours a day at McDonald’s as well as a few hours in the records management room at a senior hostel center—in addition to captaining her high school soccer team. But Fanny was just getting started. After high school, she went on to attend Humphreys University’s Drivon School of Law with intentions of becoming a Correctional Officer. However, Fanny eventually

changed directions and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts Studies with a Minor in Community Studies. How did Fanny end up working at the Boys & Girls Clubs? Well, Fanny has always loved working with kids, and since she loved her time as a Club kid, she went back to her Club roots and joined the staff of the Stockton Boys & Girls Club as an Activity Leader. After meeting her husband, Silvestre, and relocating to Bakersfield in 2015, Fanny joined the local Boys & Girls Club. During Fanny’s time here at the Kern County Clubs, she has held positions of Site Coordinator, Area Program Director, Program Director, as well as Nutrition Field Specialist positions. Most recently, Fanny launched—to rave reviews—a new school club site in McFarland that is changing the lives of youth in that area. Fanny made such an impact there that her colleagues affectionately refer to that location as “McFannyland.” Fanny says that she is inspired by kids. She loves seeing their happy smiles. She loves seeing them grow into great young adults and coming back to share their stories of growth and achievements. Fanny has loved seeing her colleagues as well as herself grow as youth development professionals with the support of the local and national Boys & Girls Clubs. Fanny also commented on how thrilled she was to be part of the Club during the pandemic—witnessing what an important role the Club played in the lives of children during such an unsettling time. While the pandemic may have required a pause with some of the Club’s programming, she is looking forward to the return of some of her favorite programs such as the Club’s learning kitchens and athletics--including cheerleading. When Fanny is not working hard at the Club, she is working hard as mom to six-year-old son, Alan; two-year-old daughter, Helena; three canine babies, Blue, Simba, and Princess; and one feline baby, Kix. Fanny is a role model to all. Thanks for being part of the team!

Fanny enjoying time away with her family.

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If you would like to be a part of our youth developement team visit bgclubsofkerncounty.org/ careers


Active 20-30 Club of Bakersfield Justin & April Ahart Timothy & Caitlin Ashlock Ariel & Abby Auffant Alan Avery

Laura Avila Alex M. Balfour John Barahona Larry & Kay Bardin Adam Belter Cathy Bennett Aimee Blaine Sonia Bonilla-Mendoza Greg & Rose Broida John & Jean Browning Charles & Theresa Bush Juan & Sabrina Cazares

Gary & Donna Cross Mickey Cushine Mike & Maggie Cushine Matt Damian Chelsea Dow Ken & Marjorie Dow Karla Espinoza Melissa Fortune & Bruce Beretta Christine Frazier Fanny Gama Monica Gonzales Renee Goodwin Robert & Jerry Haner Matthew & Shelly Hewett Barry & Eashell Hill Edgar Jacobs Larry Koman Allan Krauter & Anna Agenjo Bernie & Lynn LeBeau Ryan & Frances Lewis Andrew Lopez Christopher Lowe Zachary Martindale Erlinda Martinez Natalie Martinez

Karinna Mendoza Ruth Miranda Chris & Jovan Molina Alex & Kristin Monsibais Jonathan & Mary Anne Mueller Shannan Ogilvie Erika Olgin Dale Oprandy Randy & Mary Richardson Saber Insurance Agency Darin Schwicker John & Christina Sistrunk Paul Skarphol Zane & Amy Smith Linda Sullenger Dan & Rhesa Tate Josh & Susan Wall Deborah Wood

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A few of our Club members (ages 10 to 14) and staff had the opportunity to attend the Ripken Summer Camp in Aberdeen, MD in June. The Ripken Summer Camp is an opportunity for deserving young people from across the country to come together for a week to learn baseball and softball while simultaneously developing life-long character traits that will help them continue on the path to success. CRSF programs are designed based on Cal, Sr.’s philosophy that, “everything you do in baseball you do in life, and everything you do in life you do in baseball.” The ball field becomes a perfect place to teach those life lessons that will help young people become not only successful in the game of baseball and softball, but also in the game of life. Lessons such as teamwork, leadership, respect, communication, developing good life habits, and making good choices apply to life both on and off the ball field. The week is designed to integrate these lessons into all activities including baseball and softball skills stations, ropes courses, team building games, and special presentations. The Club members tried new things, challenged themselves, and took chances to grow and met new friends from across the country. Many flew on a plane for the first time!


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Supervising the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County’s CareerLaunch/Summer Jobs Program this year has been a wonderful experience. The program provided local high school teens with workforce development skills in April and May while also supporting local businesses in June and July. During a global pandemic,103 high school teens participated in CareerLaunch (workforce development classes) after school at the Armstrong Youth Center. The CareerLaunch/Summer Jobs Program sponsored by Bank of America, Taco Bell Foundation, and No Kid Hungry gave the teens valuable life skills such as goal setting and management techniques plus how to fill out an application, create a resume/cover letter, and interview for a job. The acquired skills were applied when the high school teens had the opportunity to interview for one of 25 paid internship positions with local companies, elected official offices, and non-profits. The employers offered the interns mentorship and hands-on experience in a variety of occupations. They worked Monday through Thursday at their internship location, and on Friday they participated in professional development. Friday classes included personality styles & careers training with Robin Paggi, financial literacy

with Bank of America, etiquette classes at The Kitchen, CPR certification, Food Handler certification, and STEM careers with AERA. I am very grateful for the ongoing support from our program supporters and business partners. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County’s Career Launch/Summer Jobs Program shapes the community and provides young people across Bakersfield with valuable opportunities and experiences. Through this program since 2013, almost 400 high school teens have successfully completed their first job, received their first paycheck, opened their first bank accounts, and learned the value of a dollar. The connections, opportunities, and memories the interns received this summer were invaluable. If you are interested in participating in the CareerLaunch/Summer Jobs Program, please send an email to summerjobsprogram@bgclubsofkerncounty. org.

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