Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme

Staff Spotlight: Mariana Cazares Morataya

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015

Mariana Cazares

Mariana Cazares Morataya has worked at the Club since 2006, starting as the academic and career advisor working with teens and giving them advice on their future. Now as the Youth Empowerment Program coordinator, she oversees six staff members, and provides training and support for academic and career advisors, which includes reviewing all the students’ applications, setting up mock interviews and meeting with participants being referred to vocational training or subsidized employment.

“Over the years, I’ve learned that the youth we work with are a resilient group of participants and they have gone through some hard times, yet they have found a way to overcome a lot,” Mariana said.

Born in Sonora, Mexico, Mariana was raised in Oxnard. She graduated from Rio Mesa High School and received a bachelor’s of science degree in criminal justice administration with a minor in Spanish from San Diego State University.

Mariana enjoys working for the Club because she feels the programs help at-risk youth accomplish their dreams, and she works hard to see that happen. More than 100 youth participate in the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) each year, which is designed to teach young people, ages 16-21, the skills they need to be successful in their future.

Within YEP, there are three programs: the Job Ready Program for high school students, the Job Ready Accelerated Program for youth out of school and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Program for high school seniors. All the youth who come into the program receive a free membership to the Club.

Most of the career and academic advising is done at the 7th Street Boys & Girls Club, but the Club does have an extension at the Oxnard Housing Authority in Colonia where it services older youth in the area.

“I love working with the youth in our community, providing resources and showing them that their circumstances should not define them or limit them,” said Mariana, adding that it’s important for youth to know they can make things happen. “I like them to know they can take charge of their destiny, and I motivate them to work hard to achieve their goals.”

Mariana is graduating from California State University Northridge in May with an MPA in management and leadership.

Meet our Members JC Penny, age 18

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015

Boys Girls JC Anna-37

“I’d be a totally different person if I didn’t go to the Club. I learned most-about-everything through the Boys & Girls Club.”

JC is a confident young man who knows where he’s going and how to get there, thanks to the Club staff’s mentoring and guidance. JC’s goal is to play for Ventura College’s Men’s Basketball team then transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he will pay on the Men’s Mustang basketball team and pursue a degree in architecture. Being drafted by the NBA is a goal, too. “Anything can happen,” says JC, sharing his favorite quote. Anything, like playing in the NBA and being an architect. A Club member for nine years, JC has been involved with the Club’s basketball league, Triple Play and Keystone programs, which offered up opportunities for him to take initiative and be a leader.



Corporate Champions – Spotlight Staples Construction Company

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015

staples constrcution

For more than two years, Staples Construction Company has been one of the Club’s supportive partners. In 2013, they became the title sponsor of our Fore the Kids Golf Tournament, helping to raise more than $59,000 last year for our 9,200+ members.


This year’s 23rd Annual Fore the Kids Golf Tournament will be held June 1 at Spanish Hills Country Club, Camarillo. Entry fee to the tournament is $225 per player or $1,100 per team. The all-inclusive registration fee gives each player access to green fees carts, quality tee gifts, lunch, mulligans, raffle tickets, putting contest, hole-in-one contests and the awards banquet.

“Staples Construction really came through for the Club when we were looking for a new title sponsor,” said Sean Leonard, immediate past president of the board. “With their help, we’ve been able to increase our reach in the community and bring in a new group of donors.”

Staples Construction Company, Inc., based in Ventura, is an experienced construction firm dedicated to providing premier service and superior quality. They provide construction management, general contracting, project development and design build services. They also have offices in Sacramento, the South Bay and Chicago.


Fill Your Cart, Help the Club

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015

whole foods 5%

Help support our Club! We’ve been selected as the beneficiary of Whole Foods Oxnard’s 5% Community Support Day.

Shop anytime between 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, at the Whole Foods Oxnard store, 650 Town Center Drive at The Collection in Riverpark, and five 5% of the net sales for the day will go directly to BGCOP.

As part of its national commitment to supporting local causes in the communities in which it serves, Whole Foods Market stores hold Community Support Days several times a year and donate 5% of that day’s net sales to a local nonprofit or educational organization. Whole Foods Oxnard has been a participant of this program since it opened in 2013.

Meet our 2015 Youth of the Year candidates

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015

BGCOP YOY 2015 Group Candidates Pic 2Joanna Garcia, (left to right) Amber Holmes, Glenda Guzman, Claire Benson and Claritza Juarez

This year, the Club was honored to have five candidates for Youth of the Year, all outstanding examples of the youth we have at our Club.


Claritza Juarez

18-year-old Claritza Juarez says the Club transformed her world. At age 15, she was mandated by the court to complete community service hours at the Boys & Girls Club after being caught shoplifting at the Naval Base. Once at the Club, she joined the College Bound program. This was a huge step forward for her because says she previously didn’t know that education went past high school. College Bound opened her eyes to careers, colleges, universities and why grades matter. She is now a freshman at Oxnard College and wants to be an English teacher. Claritza was also involved with the Club’s Keystone program for the three years she was a member, which says taught her that life is about giving and making the world a better place not just for herself, but for everyone, she says. As someone who struggled with depression since age 6, Claritza credits the staff for their support and encouragement in helping her see what she has to offer.


Glenda Guzman

A junior at Oxnard High School, 17-year-old Glenda Guzman joined the Club at age 11. She says being an undocumented citizen and coming from a single-parent household created many obstacles. Being involved in the Club’s Keystone and Counselor in Training programs helped her overcome these barriers, she says, and have given her the opportunity to learn leadership and mentoring skills. Glenda has been vice president of the Keystone program for four and a half years. Her goal is to graduate from a four-year university with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in sociology, she says, so that she can go into the criminal justice field.


Claire Benson

Claire Benson has been a Club member since she was 15. Now 18, she’s studying to become a journalist at Oxnard College, something she says wouldn’t have been possible without the help she received at the Club. Through the Keystone program, Claire says she learned how to manage her priorities, by staying on track with her schoolwork and getting to volunteer in her community. She was given an opportunity to help others when she led a campaign for teen suicide prevention. She shared a rough time in her life that was difficult to talk about, but in doing so she realized how much the people at the Club supported and believed in her for who she was. But for Claire, one of the best opportunities she has been given at the Club was the chance to be a teen reporter for the Boys & Girls Club of America program. The experience helped her find the right path toward a career, she says.


Joanna Garcia

17-year-old Joanna Garcia first joined the Club when she was 8 years old. She says she was nervous the first day she walked into the Club, not sure if she would make friends. But the staff and other members made her feel so comfortable that she has considered the Club a second home almost from that first day. Joanna has been very involved with the Club’s Keystone program and has been a teen reporter for the BGCA program. In her nine years at the Club, she has participated in nearly all the sports programs offered and feels grateful for her experiences. She says she wants to become a doctor and study pre-med at John Hopkins University. She is currently a junior at Rio Mesa High School.


Congratulations to our 2015 BGCOP Youth of the Year!

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015

Amber Holmes.2015 YOY_2

Singled out among several outstanding youth, 18-year-old Amber Holmes has been chosen as this year’s BGCOP Youth of the Year.


A seven-year Club member, Amber is a senior at Oxnard High School and plans to study nursing at California State University, San Francisco, next year. She will be the first in her family to attend a university right after high school.


“The Club has transformed me from a shy little girl into a confident young lady who is prepared to face any challenges that will ever stand in my way,” said Amber.


The Youth of the Year competition recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club local organization, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. Youth of the Year honorees are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.


“We are so proud of Amber. She works really hard and has become a great leader and mentor to other youth at the Club,” said Erin Antrim, chief executive officer, BGCOP. “She embodies the qualities we look for in choosing our Youth of the Year: She is smart, committed to the Club and willing to share her experiences to help others achieve what’s best for them.”


Amber has been involved with the Club’s Keystone Leadership Club, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and College Bound programs. She has been the Keystone president for two years and a teen reporter for the Boys & Girls Club of America’s site. At a recent NFTE completion, her “Big Beautiful Bows” business plan was honored as “Best Business.”


When she was 11, her father was sent to prison and she and her mother moved to Los Angeles from San Antonio, Texas, to live with her grandmother. That same year, her grandmother passed away and they moved to Oxnard to be with her grandfather. As a result, Amber attended three schools in two states that year.

Let’s Celebrate! It’s National Boys & Girls Club week

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015


Join us March 22-28 for a week of celebration! During the weeklong event, Club members will take part in a variety of activities, including Olympic games, gardening, hiking, outer space-related crafts and a culminating awards ceremony.

There will be activities at both the Martin V. Smith Clubhouse, 1900 W. 5th Street, and the Teen Center, 126 E. 7th Street.

Community members are welcome to tour the Club and learn about the programs we offer and why it’s so important to raise money to keep these programs going, said Erin Antrim, chief executive officer, BGCOP.

Below is a list of activities for the week…

Monday, March 23

MVS: Spring Gardening-Members and staff will work together to plant a garden for the Club. Members will learn about planting, growing and taking care of plants. Design your door Contest: All program areas will design their door for the Open the Door, Take the Tour Contest. Members will design their own BGCOP T-Shirt. Winner designs their own t-shirt.

Teen Center: Crazy Hat Day


Tuesday, March 24

MVS: Out of this Planet-Members will learn about the solar system and do hands-on projects about space. Members will also take a field trip to the LA Planetarium.

Teen Center: Twin Day


Wednesday, March 25

MVS: Wilderness Survival-Members will learn about the outdoors, what to bring on a camping trip, crafts with nature, building survival forts, and also go on hike. A scavenger hunt is planned for members who are not going on the field trip.

Teen Center: “Logo Day”- Using stencils, members will put up the B&G Club logos around the CLUB

Thursday, March 26

MVS: Olympic Day-Members and staff will participate in different Olympic activities throughout the day.

Teen Center: Patio Mural Day- Teens will work on the patio mural

Friday, March 27

MVS: Ultimate Challenge-Members will participate in various games in different age groups (6-7, 8-9,

10-12), will play girls versus boys and at the end of the challenges the group with the most points wins. Then, join us for Family Fun Night/Parent Orientation.

Teen Center: Pajama Day- Teens will add the B&G Club logo to their pajamas.

13th Annual Great Futures Breakfast: April 23

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on March 20, 2015

Antwone FisherDespite a tumultuous childhood, Antwone Fisher has become an award-winning screenwriter, author, producer and director whose autobiography, Finding Fish: A Memoir, became a feature film directed by Denzel Washington. As this year’s 13th Annual Great Futures for Kids Breakfast keynote speaker, Antwone shares his conviction of facing life’s challenges head-on and inspires his audience with poignant, thought-provoking lessons.


Antwone uses the challenges he’s experienced to motivate others. He was born in prison to a teenage mother, spent 12 harrowing years in the foster care system and was homeless, before setting on a course of healing and serving in the United States Navy for 11 years.


The Great Futures for Kids Breakfast will be held 7-10 a.m., April 23 at the Residence Inn by Marriott at River Ridge, 2101 W. Vineyard Ave., Oxnard. The breakfast event is a community rally to help create Great Futures for Kids by supporting Club programs that ensure children graduate from high school and achieve self-sufficiency, along with possessing a strong character and leadership skills.


Families pay $20 per year to become members of the Club; the Club pays the remaining $500 per year in program fees for each child. It’s money well spent, as members of BGCOP have higher graduation rates and lower teen pregnancy and crime rates than area youth, resulting in a 1,200% return on donor investments.


“This event engages our local businesses and individuals in our mission to create hope and opportunities for the youth of greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme,” said Erin Antrim, BGCOP chief executive officer. “It’s through the generous support of our donors and volunteers that BGCOP can ensure our 9,200+ members will continue to receive access to the Club and the programs and activities that help these young people achieve personal success and realize their full potential as caring, responsible, self-sufficient citizens in our community.”


Antwone’s autobiography was on the New York Times Best Seller list. His most recent book, A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie and Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life, won the 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. It is an inspiring, practical guide to the basic skills that every boy needs to become a successful man and every man needs to become a respected citizen. He has also written a collection of poetry, Who Will Cry for the Little Boy? In this collection, he reveals the inner truths that took him from a tragic childhood to the man he is today. Antwone imparts the importance of developing one’s identity and spirituality, and giving back to the community.


Sponsorship benefits include corporate recognition at the Breakfast, publicity on promotional materials and tickets to the event. This year’s presenting sponsor is California Resources Corporation. The deadline for sponsorship is April 6. For sponsorship opportunities or to attend the breakfast, contact Antrim at (805) 815-4959 ext.203 or