Life Skills Summer Youth Camp
By Dianne Anderson
Dr. Jeanetta Million searched long and hard for a program to match the heart of the San Bernardino community. One that could help local kids tap their own personal superpowers — like how to develop an iron will.
She found the best potential with AC Green Youth Foundation’s character building curriculum that works equally well in both sports and education. A.C. Green, AKA “Iron Man,” maintains legend status for his perseverance, having played the most consecutive games in the NBA or ABA than any other player.
Next week, she starts building self-esteem with classes featuring Green’s award-winning leadership program, along with an autographed Power Bear from the Iron Man himself as an added bonus for kids that graduate.
Workshops from June 27 through July 19 will give local kids discipline and goal planning. The Life Skills for Youth Summer Workshop is held every Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at San Bernardino High School, located at 1850 N E St, in San Bernardino. Registration is still open to children age nine to 22 years.
For a nominal fee of $30, or in $10 intervals each week, the youth will receive workbooks, the Power Bear, meals and snacks, but she also knows that some parents won’t be able to afford it.
“We’re telling parents to bring whatever you can bring that week, $2 or $5, because we want to reach the children. We have to buy the books and buy the teddy bear, that would help us with the workbooks they need for the class,” she said.
Now in their second year for the workshops, she said they also continue outreach to community groups and nonprofits, and are willing to work with anyone interested in providing space to hold workshops.
“We thank God that San Bernardino High School opened a class so we can host it. A.C. Green came and spoke to the kids at the school, and they know him,” she said. “We’d like to continue as an after-school program when school starts.”
The retired Los Angeles Laker “Iron Man” has played over 1,100 games, and will talk to kids about what it takes to stick to their goals in life. Each year, he also holds successful free basketball camps in Los Angeles County, but she said local kids do not have a lot of alternatives for summer programs.
By next year, she hopes to develop a pilot project that resembles the same type of camp activities offered in Los Angeles.
“We’re really concerned about our youth here,” she said. “Our kids here are bored and isolated and in poverty. We want to bring something here to help them continue their goals.”
Parents that get kids into the program can also access other resources, including help with food and supplies. Her nonprofit hosts financial workshops, and Zumba classes for fun, health and wellness.
Every second, third and fourth Thursdays of the month, she gives away free food to the community. She has provided several services to San Bernardino clients since 2001.
Recently, she attended a San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting to ask about accessing a vacant warehouse to store pallets of food, clothing, furniture and other items that she receives regularly from donors.
Seeing the need so great in the area makes it hard to turn down donations, but she said her warehouse is getting too small to hold it all. As she gets free food, clothes and furniture, she redistributes the goods back to the community.
“The county has these buildings, it’s just sitting around,” she said. “Why don’t you open up one to help the people more. It would be more impactful for the community with that building being open for warehouse space.”
Usually, she gets 24 pallets at a time, but sometimes donors will give an additional 14 pallets of food, clothing or other items. She turns it away for lack of space.
Donations vary, but she said the products are always quality, and things that the community can use, including household items, school supplies, and office furniture. Another storage facility would go a long way to help the community, she said.
“You come in and get things from the warehouse and keep your money that you would normally spend for those items. It will keep your money in your household so you can use it for something else,” she said.
She plans to contact each of the supervisors to make her plea.
“We don’t have the funds to pay $2,000 or $2,500. Some rent in San Bernardino is ridiculous for some areas. We have to hand [manually] offload each pallet. It’s a lot of work,” she said.
To get involved with the program, see ashcdi.org or call (909)520-8846