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GOLDEN STATE DIVISION—In collaboration with the nonprofit organization Team-Up for Youth, the San Francisco Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center successfully launched its first Girls Soccer Program for elementary school students in its after-school program.

Team-Up for Youth takes the guesswork out of developing an effective sports program by recruiting and training volunteer coaches from local universities—and their service is free.

After a 10-week series of high-energy practices, the girls geared up for the culminating event—the 2009 Girls Soccer Jamboree—hosted by the Kroc Center.

It’s a great way to teach responsibility, accountability and teamwork—and have fun at the same time.

From the time Captain Paula Wild (divisional Guard and Sunbeam director) was a little girl, hearing the sound of the bells and seeing the red kettles were signs the Christmas season had arrived. As a teenager with her youth group, she volunteered to ring the bell at local retail stores. It was fun competing against others to bring in the most money.

Today, her own teenager is carrying on the tradition of bell ringing and her family has made it a tradition to challenge other families in fundraising during the Christmas season.

Their family goal this year was to raise $1,000 for their corps’ kettle program. Several other families—and even the teen group—also took the challenge.

“We all have much to be thankful for. I am thankful for the rich tradition of The Salvation Army and the opportunity to serve. So keep ringing those bells,” Wild said.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DIVISION—The El Centro Corps recently started a Mexican folkloric dance class for children. A volunteer instructor teaches the classes, which are held every Tuesday after Adventure Corps/Girl Guards—while other children are attending various music classes.

Through the interaction of reaching for the hand of the opposite sex or placing a hand on the shoulder or back of one another, the children learn to treat each other with respect, as well as having fun. They are learning about their culture, heritage and the history of folkloric dancing.

The mothers of the students have also gotten involved—many have requested a “dance for exercise” class. The teacher has volunteered her time to start such a class in the near future.

The Compton Corps has partnered with Here’s Life Inner-City (HLIC) to “mobilize their people so that every Christian becomes a multiplying follower of Jesus Christ who is engaged in meeting the needs of the poor.”

HLIC—an outreach of Campus Crusade for Christ—has united with the corps to facilitate training classes in evangelism, discipleship and leadership development; and provide relief products such as homeless care kits, evangelistic Easter bags and back-to-school shoes and backpacks. They also provide teaching programs for adults in such fields as life skills, financial management and career development.

Through their relationship with HLIC, the Compton Corps has begun a series of programs designed to influence and change lifestyles in their community. One class—“New Focus”—involves teaching how to live a debt-free life. Another is “Steps to Change,” or more commonly known in Compton as “Tired of Being Broke?”

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