by Brian Bentzen
The Boys and Girls club in Vacaville serves over 300 students, ages 6 to 18yrs. Years ago, they were awarded a BNI Foundation Givers Gain Grant due to a nomination by Susan Schwartz, BNI Director Consultant BNI CA San Francisco North Bay. They purchased Tower Gardens to teach the students about gardening and nutrition. They are growing tomatoes, pumpkin, basil, Swiss chard, kale, onions, cucumbers, cilantro and peppers.
Susan also worked with the kids on jarring and selling include pesto, pickle (dill and bread & butter), and a variety of fruit jams.
Shanneil’s Locker is a program she created and runs under the guidance of the Boys & Girls Club along with her Club peers. She actually has received numerous grants and donations to support this program, which pays for and distributes shoe vouchers to the youth who apply for her program. The vouchers are $75 and can be redeemed at Nike or Adidas, who are throwing in an additional discount to help stretch the $75 just a bit more.
Today, Beth Misner, President BNI Foundation, and Brian Bentzen, Business Voices Coordinator BNI CA Central Valley and BNI Foundation Social Media Coordinator were able to meet with the students as they harvested the vegetables and herbs and created fresh homemade salsa during “Culinary Week”. The students will be selling these jars of salsa at $5 each at a local farmers market. 100% of the proceeds from the sales of the salsa will be donated back to the Boys and Girls Club. They will also be donating their harvest of fruits and vegetables, plus some of the jars of salsa to the Opportunity House, a local homeless shelter in Vacaville. We at the BNI Foundation are so proud of these local junior entrepreneurs who are learning about ecology, organic gardening, nutrition, marketing, budgeting, and sales.
However, they are asking for our help again. Their current aluminum gardening shed was damaged and vandalized. They are looking for a donation of a “tuff-shed” like wooden double wide gardening shed to replace the old shed. They are also looking for a BNI chapter to “adopt the pool table” to refinish and refelt their billiards table, plus new cue sticks and billiard balls for the kids. Finally, they are in need of donations of sports equipment such as basketballs and soccer balls and hula hoops.
If you are interested in donating, please contact Anna Eaton at (707) 999-5034.
We are also recommending BNI Chapters host a “Career Fair” at their local Boys and Girls Club. Get your chapter involved and spend an afternoon sharing with the students what it takes to get into your business and the future employment and entrepreneur opportunities in their industry.
Anna Eaton, Director of the Boys and Girls Club, has a dream of remodeling and expanding their building which was a converted one story 7-11 liquor store into a 2 story building complex with multiple classrooms, expanded kitchen, energy efficient windows and lights, play rooms, and gymnasium. She needs more space. She would love to meet with businesses looking to donate their time, treasure and talent to help her to reach her dream such as architects, interior designers, and trades to help her to build a new building for the Boys and Girls Club. They city of Vacaville currently owns and maintains the repairs of their current building under the city budget. After the remodel, the Boys and Girls club may benefit from the city’s willingness to gift the building to them.
Therefore, Anna needs the help of our BNI members to reach her dream.