Q&A with James Villasenor,
BGCLAH Accounting Department
How long have you been with the Club and what do you do?
I started at the South Bay Boys & Girls Clubs 12 years ago as a program assistant. After seven years on the program side, working at different School Sites and Club Sites, I moved to the administration side of the organization working as a bookkeeper. When the South Bay BGC merged with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, I became the Accounts Payable for the BGCLAH.
Working on the administration side is really different than the program side. I still find time, however, to visit the sites and work with the members. I just finished the season as a volunteer basketball coach for the Mamba League at our Wilmington Site.
What’s your favorite thing about working at the Club?
It’s definitely working to serve the kids and our community. All the staff, volunteers, donors and Board members work together to give our members every opportunity that they need to succeed. Being a part of an organization whose sole purpose is to make a difference in the lives of kids who need us most is a really rewarding thing. I loved working directly with the kids everyday on the program side, but even working in administration there is still the sense that everyone is working together to impact our members.
How has the Club changed within the past couple of years?
The Club only continues to grow. The South Bay BGC recently merged with the BGCLAH at the beginning of the year. The best thing about merging with the BGCLAH is that more kids have access to more resources. I think any time there is a major change, there will be some difficulties. But as we continue to grow, the communities will be impacted in a positive way. Our members are receiving more resources than ever before. From supplies and incentives to programming and transportation, there are so many more opportunities for our members. For example, during Summer Camp this year the members from the Cheryl Green Site are being transported to the Harbor City Site. Those kids are going to have more programming in a bigger facility.
How do you think the Club impacts our community?
The Club greatly impacts our youth and our community. Our youth have a safe place to go after school where they have access to things like STEM programming, tutoring, athletics, art instruction, computer animations, music and studio production and so much more! The Clubs keeps these kids away from the trouble they could get into after school and provides them with programs to help think about what they want for their future.
Our programs help guide kids and give them opportunities they would never have had. Our College Bound program has a 99% percent graduation rate, with 95% of those members going on to attend a 2 or 4 year university! In it’s first year, our Career Bound program helped place our members in 100 internships! The Clubs help these kids get a head start on their futures and provide them with a pathway to success!