Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme

Staff Highlight: Monique Garcia

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on January 21, 2015

Monique Garcia_Nyeland Site Coordinator

As site coordinator for BGCOP’s Nyeland Acres Community Center, Monique Garcia is proud to making a difference in the Nyeland community. “The best part of my job is being able to provide services to students who deserve them the most,” she said.

Club Nyeland is the only place for these students to come to, added Monique. There is no other location in the community for children to attend.

Monique grew up in Nyeland Acres and has been with BGCOP for four and a half years, so she knows how important the center is to these kids. She wishes there had been something like this when she was growing up. “We provide a safe positive place for kids,” says Monique.

“Many of our students come from broken homes, poverty-stricken homes that lack parental figures and parental interaction,” said Monique. “Being available for these students for questions, answers, a laugh, a board game and even a game of basketball or Frisbee, brings a smile and a sense of self-worth to our students. When I see our students smiling, I’m reminded daily of the reason and purpose for this club being in Nyeland Acres.”

Monique previously was the program lead, sports coordinator and choir instructor at Mar Vista Boys & Girls Club. As site coordinator of Club Nyeland, she is always busy and works hard to interact with all the students, her staff and people out in the community. She prepares lessons according to the monthly theme and works closely with community partners who support the program in many ways.

“Structure is a big part of my site,” said Monique. “I communicate the same way to all of the members at the club, staff, and most importantly parent interaction and involvement. I set high goals for our students, with teaching them to not be a product of their environment, but to break the cycle of high school drop outs, slacking on grades and having low hopes. My goal when I come to work every day is to teach my staff what I know and learn from them as well. Teamwork is important; we learn together, work together and succeed together.”

Club Nyeland offers STEM programming, which has opened a new horizon for everyone who attends. The monthly themes correlate with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Students have the opportunity to use a laptop to research and report during their programs. The laptops are also used for Club groups, including Torch club, Smart Girls, Street Smart, Triple Play, Healthy Habits and, most importantly, Power Hour homework time. Club high school students also use the computers for goal planning, and researching colleges and career opportunities.

“I cherish every opportunity I have to give back to my community,” said Monique, who is now a member of the County of Ventura Behavioral and Mental Health Advisory Board. “I was taught a very important quote that I teach these students who are the next generation, ‘You can never live life with two catchers mitts; you always have to have one hand free to give back’.”

This is something she integrates into many of her lessons. “Our students learn the many ways to give back to those who are able to help them. They are taught humbleness and respect, the lifelong skills that they will carry on and benefit their futures.”

 

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