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NextGeneration - Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula

NextGeneration - Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula

Dedicated from

Dedicated from the start: the early days The year 2008 will mark 50 years of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula service to the youth and families of the community. Club programs and facilities have expanded exponentially since 1958 to give low-income area kids better options in education and in life. During the last eight years alone, the number of young people served by the club has tripled and locations grew to three modern clubhouses and four Center for a New Generation school sites. Carolyn Miller was a member of The Newcomers civic group in the late 50s when it sought a deserving benefactor for its charity work. A struggling new BoysClub in Belle Haven was their choice. Searching their memories, Carolyn (below right), Langdon Hilleary, Margo Ritter and Ted Tanner (photo at right), offer up some names of the earliest supporters of the fledgling BoysClub. Charlie Horton, Bob Clifford and other members of the Menlo Men’s Town Club were chief among them. Newspapers in 1958 described how valuable the BoysClub was in giving kids new hope in low-income Belle Haven, and how buses were bringing in boys from East Palo Alto. And how badly the club needed financial help. The Newcomers, later known as The Atherlons, came to the rescue with annual events and made-at-home booth-sale items from dolls to dishtowels. Atherlon benefits at the Menlo Recreation Center raised much of the early support money for the BoysClub. Llewellyn Cooper, Carolyn’s dad, became an early board member, and he and Charlie Horton and friends persuaded others to support the BoysClub and its athletic programs, woodworking shops, art instruction and mentoring in life skills. The businessmen would often load up cars with boys and take them to the San Francisco Zoo and ballgames and museums. Rotarians kicked in later with a “Dad of the Year” campaign in which dads (and moms) each contributed $25 to sponsor a boy in the club. At one crucial support meeting of the Rotary, reported a local newspaper, “a boxing match was staged by William Killeen, manager of the BoysClub, featuring two members, ‘Tiger’ Beasely and ‘Slugger’ Patio. Chuck Taylor, athletic director at Stanford, and Al Wilburn of the Indians football team...completed the program.” Ted Tanner had been impressed when he read that a new club building was going up in Belle Haven on the present site, much of it donat- ed by local architects, contractors and unions. He pitched in, and by the time the building was dedicated in 1965, Ted had become president. That same year, the renamed Herbert Hoover Memorial BoysClub bought up all tickets for the big Ice Follies show in San Francisco, and sold them at a profit of $10,000. Eight Peninsula Ball debutantes were recruited as high-profile hostesses. Public recognition was rose to a new level, and the club had proved money problems wouldn’t prevent giving kids better opportunities in life. Veteran clubbers recall that each time deficits threatened to close the doors, as they did again in 1977, the young club pushed the fund-raising envelope. In 1978 Atherlon’s Margo Ritter joined the club board-later becoming president--and led the staging of a colorful “Night to Remember” benefit featuring the famed Tennessee Ernie Ford and Les Brown and his Band of Renown. The tab: $50 a couple. Langdon Hilleary said he joined the board when he was “accosted” by club faithful Bruce Michaels, and Lang in turn accosted Patrick Goodenough, a golf friend who seemed social-minded enough because he’d already been counseling prison inmates in San Jose. It worked: both became inspired club leaders. Carolyn Miller joined the board in the 80s to honor the pioneering efforts of her father who died at 64. None of the early stalwarts, as they knocked on doors, threw parties and knitted pot holders to support 1960s budgets of $50,000 could have guessed their BoysClub would one day become the Peninsula leader in youth development with an operating budget of nearly $5 million. New President Mike Gullard; directors Matt Sonsini and Connie Heldman The club’s current period of strategy development stands to benefit from the management and civic experience of its new board president, Mike Gullard. After Stanford Business School, Mike joined the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), then launched a career in telecommunications with Intel. Later, he honed finance and management talents in his venture capital creation, Cornerstone Ventures. Now Mike is a professional corporate board member, chairing and guiding Silicon Valley startups. He and his wife Pamela have two sons, 19 and 21. Matthew Sonsini, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati law firm, has joined the club board. In his professional practice, he represents technology companies at all stages of development and the institutions that finance them, from formation through venture capital financing and beyond. As a father of three, Matt is passionate about youth development and expresses his determination to help the club achieve its ambitious new goals. Connie Heldman’s career in Marin real estate didn’t keep her from the Reading Wizards she founded at the East Palo clubhouse. Her method has now been replicated nationally. She was previously on the board and is now returning as a valued club activist. Connie is also a national trustee of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and provides ongoing mentoring and scholarship assistance for the club's young people and alumni. 4

Club partners with Stanford to measure effectiveness of youth development No longer just a positive place for kids, but now a leader in community strategies to improve youth outcomes, the club is exploring ways to measure its effectiveness in changing the lives of young members. Measurements weren’t part of the club’s original modus operandi. Today, however, management and directors seek added quantification of the success stories they’ve personally witnessed as a result of the club’s bolder initiatives in the community. Such data would also help show how well the organization stewards the money invested by businesses and individuals with a real interest in youth outcomes. To make it all happen, the club is partnering with the John W. Gardner Center of Stanford University to measure how club programs help young people achieve targeted academic and life-skill goals. Executive Director Peter Fortenbaugh says the club hopes to approach this by measuring the impact of attendance at clubhouses-and for that more accurate data is needed. The Gardner Center houses the Youth Data Archive, a rich database linking information from multiple sources including school districts, county agencies, and youth organizations like the club. YDA enables the creation of a tool with which club staffers can evaluate how effective they are at achieving their mission. The database already includes attendance information from the club and from the Redwood City Elementary School system, which most Mervin G. Morris Clubhouse members attend. The Sequoia High School System--which almost all members will eventually attend--will Dr. Milbrey McLaughlin and Peter Fortenbaugh meet on the Stanford campus. add its data next year and talks are underway to include information from the Ravenswood Elementary School system as well. When all these data sources are complete, the club will be able to evaluate how regular attendance at its clubhouses influences a range of desired outcomes: performance on state-standardized tests, school attendance, discipline problems, and eventually--and most importantly--high school graduation rates. Milbrey McLaughlin, founding director of the Gardner Center, has joined the club board and is working with Peter Fortenbaugh, Operations Director James Harris, board member Dennis Lenehan and Gardner Center policy analyst Oded Gurantz, to integrate findings from the Youth Data Archive into the club’s overall evaluation system. According to Dr. McLaughlin, “the partnership is an important experiment to evaluate how data-driven policy analysis can document and improve the effectiveness of a youth development organization.” Community Leader on board Paul Bains, Pastor at St. Samuel Church in East Palo Alto, and a chaplain working with the Police Department, has joined the club board of directors. For his efforts in helping teens stay out of trouble, Paul was selected for the “Local Heroes Award” by the Media Center in Palo Alto. He helped start the chaplaincy program as part of Project We H.O.P.E which he and his wife, Cheryl, founded in 2000. The project (We Help Other People Exceed) counsels teens suspended from schools, and works to help men recently released from prison to re-enter society as productive citizens. Once the founder and president of a multi-milliondollar company, Paul Bains gave it up to become pastor of St. Samuel and work in the community--now in a multitude of projects, from teaching kids financial realities to building gyms. He joined the Boys & Girls Clubs board “because I was helped by the club as a kid over 30 years ago, and because I was recently surprised to learn about all it’s doing to give youth a voice in improving our community. They need to be heard.” 5

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