Posted by Bill Paul on Aug 27, 2017

Karen Weigel reported on the club’s recent Vision-to-Learn project. “We had 19 Rotarians to assist, screened 250 students and sent 94 for further screening by professional eyecare specialists. We received lots of thanks from our partners the RBUSD and the Beach Cities Health District who told us they want us to do this program again next year.”

Visitors included special guest Sylvia Hill; Moe Isono, our exchange student from Japan;

and Ed Burzminski, Chamber Marketing Partners, Inc. of Redondo Beach.

Our guest speaker this week was Mike Lansing, Executive Director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Los Angeles Harbor. His topic: “Building Successful Futures in the Harbor.”

In 1995, Mike became executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Pedro and eventually the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor when the struggling Wilmington Boys & Girls Club was merged in with the San Pedro organization. 

Noting that one in five youth are in poverty, he explained the Boys & Girls Club of LA serves now 2,200 kids daily.  “We have 13 sites in our area of Wilmington, San Pedro and the Port of Los Angeles. 

Our objective, he said, is a “place where young people have a better opportunity then they were born into… We are an after-school program for kids in K9–K12.” Under Mike’s leadership, the Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles was instrumental in the development of comprehensive youth development programs including an “Arts Academy” and a “College Bound” program.

We focus on academics, arts and athletics, he said. In academics, we provide education in STEM studies. In arts, we focus on fine arts and on digital arts.  In dance and music, we offer from hip-hop to ballet and instrumental to voice training. Our athletic program offers leagues in basketball, soccer, flag football and golf.

More than 15,000 students have graduated from the program since 2002, he said “and this year 600 kids graduated from our program. That compares to 30 kids graduating in the first year of our existence.”

Following today’s lunch several Rotarians stuffed 250 backpacks with school supplies for students; these backpacks will be distributed Friday at the Salvation Army and at the RBPD Domestic Violence Advocacy Program.

Dave Whitehead won today’s raffle but alas, did not pick the winning marble and only received ten bucks.  Better luck next time, Dave.