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Holiday Fund: Meet Rodrigo, age 9

Your gifts to the Almanac's Holiday Fund help the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula and nine other community organizations.

By Maelen Haugen, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula.

When Rodrigo was in first grade, he was asked to draw himself in the future. Rodrigo drew a gangster.

His picture was incredibly detailed. He could imagine what he would wear, how he would carry himself, and even what he'd spend his time doing each day. Rodrigo had drawn what he had become accustomed to seeing every day in his neighborhood.

He had a hard time staying focused during the school day, and would act up in class. Finally, he was encouraged to join the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula's school site program that took place after school each day on his school campus.

At the BGCP, Rodrigo was positively influenced. He spent time with caring mentors who served as positive role models, excelled in enrichment electives that exposed him to college and careers, and worked on improving his study skills. Rodrigo and his family embraced our expanded learning program.

Now in the fourth grade, Rodrigo, when asked to envision what his future looks like, explains that he will, "go to Yale and become an author." Rodrigo has a new understanding of the possibilities for his adult life, and each day he participates in an extended learning day that will prepare him to make his vision his reality.

This season we are celebrating opportunity. Opportunity for youth to engage, grow and achieve.

Together with donors and volunteers, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula has been able to provide opportunity for 1,700 youth this year. More than ever before. Our youth have taken fears, anxiety and challenges and turned them into positive attitudes, motivation, and skills for a great future.

Please give the youth of our community the best gift they could ask for the gift of a great future.

Each year, BGCP provides expanded learning opportunities to 1,750 at-risk youth at nine locations in East Palo Alto, eastern Menlo Park, and the North Fair Oaks section of Redwood City.

Our members, in grades K-12, attend at least twice a week during the academic year and receive essential tutoring, mentoring, and academic support.

Go to www.bgcp.org or contact Maelen Haugen at mhaugen@bgcp.org for more information.

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