Event kicks-off Santa Monica Clubs’ “Back-a-Youth” campaign
Great Futures for Kids Breakfast keynote Azim Khamisa speaking about the power of forgiving
SANTA MONICA — The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica recently launched its Back-a-Youth campaign with an inaugural event, the Great Futures for Kids Breakfast at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. The event raised more than $50,000 toward the campaign’s goal of $250,000. All funds raised help support the programming for the BGCSM’s 4,000-plus members.
More than 100 guests attended to hear keynote speaker Azim Khamisa share his story about his only son, who was murdered by a 14-year-old as a part of a gang initiation. Khamisa spoke about forgiveness, breaking the cycle of youth violence and how mentoring and other supportive programs leave a lifelong positive impact on young people and communities.
“Between 3 and 7 p.m., juvenile crime escalates. By providing positive programming to children during that time, we are working to help break that cycle of violence Azim spoke to,” said Tim Blaylock, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica. “Our programming paves the way for kids to achieve greater futures and protects our community from the costs of juvenile crime and other support-related expenses—at a fraction of those costs incurred by taxpayers. We’re asking the community to come forward to help support children achieve their potential as caring, self-sufficient adults.”
During the event, guests were asked to consider sponsoring a youth at $1,000, which covers the annual program costs for one youth. Of the Clubs’ 10 sites, only two charge members a $20 annual membership fee; the others are free to attend. No member is ever turned away for the lack of ability to pay. Funds raised support Club programs that help children graduate high school and achieve self-sufficiency, along with learning strong character and leadership skills.
Community members can contribute to the Back-a-Youth Campaign at the Clubs’ website, www.smbgc.org
The event also featured remarks from Colbie Witherspoon, BGCSM’s youth of the year; Leilani Stopani, Club member; Paul Gaulke, board president; and Jason Meugniot, Club alumnus and board member. Deb Carson, an award-winning radio and television personality and national sports anchor for Fox Sports Radio, served as emcee.
Founded in 1944, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica works to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as caring, responsible and productive citizens. Through membership and outreach, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica currently serves approximately 4,000 youth across its 10 sites throughout Los Angeles County. Members come from 134 different ZIP codes, with the majority of members coming from Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, West Los Angeles and Inglewood. For more information, visit www.smbgc.org or follow them on Facebook (facebook.com/smbgcfan) and Twitter (twitter.com/SMBGC).