UNITED STATES: Actor Michael Peña, Director Joe Kelly Collaborate on PSA for Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles
(MissionNewswire) Actor Michael Peña and director Joe Kelly have collaborated on a public service announcement, You Are My Sunshine, for the Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles. You are My Sunshine tells the story of a young girl’s journey to the Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles where children from less fortunate circumstances are provided a safe place to dream, learn and become successful educated adults.
The public service announcement is available on YouTube and has been shared on Twitter by some of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities including actors Mark Wahlberg and Andie MacDowell, director and producer Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
Michael Peña also provided another short film which is available on the Salesian Boys & Girls Club’s website, speaking about his own connection to the Salesian club. Since 1966, the Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles, located within walking distance of more than 13,000 elementary, middle and high school students, has served the Boyle Heights and City Terrace communities by providing positive after-school activities and low-cost alternative programs for thousands of at-risk and economically disadvantaged youth between the ages of 6 and 18.
Young people living in the East L.A. area face a number of challenges. According to the most recent 2012 U.S. census data, close to 27 percent of residents of East L.A. live in poverty, an increase from the overall 15.3 percent poverty rate for California. Youth living in poverty face lower rates of high school graduation and difficulty finding and maintaining employment as well as struggle with high crime rates and gang activity. Only 50 percent of youth living in East L.A. graduate high school and only 7 percent go on to college. For those involved in the Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles, more than 85 percent graduate from high school and 50 percent go on to college.
“Youth living in poverty in East L.A. communities often have difficulty remaining in school. They also face high levels of unemployment and pressure to join gangs and engage in other illegal activities,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian youth programs provide positive role models, structured activities, a safe place to get off the streets and a nonviolent, supportive environment in which to engage with peers.”
Functioning side by side with Salesian schools, youth clubs offer young people opportunities for engaging in constructive activities during their leisure time. Through organized programs which often include sports and music, youth are taught teamwork and social skills while gaining opportunities for personal growth. Some youth clubs also offer small medical clinics and, where needed, lunch programs to protect children from malnutrition.
Functioning side by side with Salesian schools, youth clubs offer young people opportunities for engaging in constructive activities during their leisure time. Through organized programs which often include sports and music, youth are taught teamwork and social skills while gaining opportunities for personal growth. Some youth clubs also offer small medical clinics and where needed, lunch programs to protect children from malnutrition.
The Salesian Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles provides a safe space where youth can engage in sports, music, art and other social activities. Programs help build confidence and teach team building and conflict resolution skills. Leadership development, health programs and wrap-around family services are also offered and help youth connect with their peers, families and communities. In addition, the club offers at least one full meal a day and additional tutoring and educational programs to complement school studies. Currently the club has more than 3,400 registered members.
“The Salesian Boys & Girls Club targets youth who would otherwise be on their own during their time away from school,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Instead of being on the streets or home alone, young people are able to join in the youth club’s activities and use their free time productively, staying safe and accessing support services that help them stay in school and keep focused on leading a happy and healthy life.”