Rotary Opens Hearts for Red Shield Kids
by Beverly Ventriss –
More than 200 children and youth were honored for their athletic accomplishments at a special barbecue and sports award ceremony at the Red Shield Youth and Community Center in downtown Los Angeles.
The annual event, sponsored by the Los Angeles Rotary Club #5, often draws popular sports figures to participate in the event. This year, Martin Machon from the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team helped pass out trophies to the youth and signed autographs. In previous years, A.C. Green of the Phoenix Sun’s baketball team has served as emcee of the event. The Rotary Club purchases all the trophies given to the youth each year.
“The Red Shield Center is one of our model programs to help at-risk children and youth. It is a positive place where they can come to enjoy a wide range of recreational and educational activities. It is a place that provides an alternative to gangs and drugs,” said divisional commander Lt. Colonel Alfred R Van Cleef.
Former Red Shield member Dr. Kenneth Hickman, currently CEO of the March of Dimes and a former commander with the Los Angeles Police Department, spoke at the event. “I credit the Red Shield with keeping me out of trouble as a youth and for providing a lasting and positive influence on my life.”
The center offers a championship karate program, ballet, swimming, soccer, basketball, an On-Track gang prevention program, a Learning Center with computers, and an after-school program supervised by an accredited teacher.