“This day shows me that we can come together for things that are really important. We need days like these to bond as a community.”—Elena, 8-year Visitacion Valley Clubhouse member
Visitacion Valley Clubhouse member Elena spent her “day off from school” on MLK Day with more than 300 Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) staff, youth, family members, and friends for a day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Elena is a member of BGCSF’s President’s Advisory Council (PAC)—a group of youth leaders from BGCSF Clubhouses and Camp Mendocino who partnered with BGCSF staff to plan and activate the event. Elena and her fellow PAC members saw the MLK Day of Service as an opportunity to voice their opinion on important issues and show how youth can create the change they want to see in the world.
The 13 PAC members kicked the day off in the Don Fisher Clubhouse gym, where hundreds of participants were energized and ready to make a difference. The PAC pumped up the crowd of excited volunteers with spoken word and musical performances, civil rights history, and a spirit of community in Dr. King’s honor.
After the morning kick off, participants took part in one of three activities: distributing food to our neighbors in need, marching in downtown San Francisco, or serving a community meal with Sunnydale residents. Each activity was inspired by civil rights organizing of the past and showcased the importance of taking action.
When asked about planning the event, Anthony, 12, a three-year member of Mission Clubhouse and PAC member, talked about what he learned through planning and activation. “It feels nice to see what we’ve been working on for months now, how it helps people, and what it can become.” He continued, “When you do something, and it’s all done, it’s nice to see your finished result and the good you did.”
PAC events use creative arts as a means to elevate youth voice and promote issues that matter the most to youth, and our MLK Day of Service put the PAC’s hard work on full display. The event provided participants with a fun and impactful experience that focused on community, personal responsibility, social justice, and the importance of service to others.
Below is a photo recap showing the difference we made on this MLK Day. For more photos, visit our MLK Day of Service Flickr album.
We were proud of the opportunity our Day of Service provided our community to give back and honor those who came before us. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed and made the day such an overwhelming success! If you’d like to participate in events like this in the future, volunteering is a great way to start!
BGCSF is committed to empowering youth to make a positive impact on their community. To learn more about how we’re building tomorrow’s leaders, check out our Character & Leadership Development program.
BGCSF is currently offering free support and training to Black-serving and Black-led individuals and organizations participating in The Dream Keeper Initiative, a citywide effort launched in 2021 to reinvest $120 million over two years into San Francisco’s diverse Black communities.
April is Arab American Heritage Month and I am excited to both reflect on what this month means to me personally and share how BGCSF and Camp Mendocino engage Arab youth and their families.
We are pleased to highlight a member of our Senior Leadership Team, Erin Gutierrez. Erin has served the BGCSF community for 15 years. Her experience spans multiple roles across the organization and provides a powerful and unique perspective on the holistic impact of BGCSF.