18 Apr Employee Spotlight
For Maria Valdovinos, Main Street Clubhouse Director, youth development has always been her calling. She couldn’t imagine working in any other field. Before joining the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson (BGCC), Maria obtained a BA in Liberal Arts from Soka University of America. In 2013, Maria jumped on the chance to begin working with the BGCC at John Muir Middle School near Compton, a neighborhood that she calls home. Several promotions later, today you’ll find Maria as the Main Street Clubhouse Director in Carson! We asked Maria to sit down and give us some insight into her time with the Club and what it takes to lead upwards of 100 kids each day at our Clubhouse.
What is one accomplishment that makes you most proud of the work you’ve done at the BGCC?
It has to be the growth my first assigned location (John Muir Middle School) had and continues to have. John Muir’s after school program was non-existent when the Club was brought in. We had a few couches and tables in one multipurpose room serving about 40 kids a day. Within a year, we were exceeding 110 kids a day and the school offered us a classroom and three bungalows. Today, our John Muir location has a mentoring program, sports teams and a cooking class too. The kids deserve to have fun and together we are giving them much more.
What do you love most about working at the BGCC?
I love working with BGCC because of my team, equally important from administration to front line program staff. We all share the same passion and care for our community youth and it shows in the work we do. My colleagues and I, our values are aligned. We want to do what’s best for kids and do that together.
In your eyes, how has the BGCC impacted the communities of Carson and South Los Angeles?
Being a resident of Compton and working in Carson, I see the need for the Club firsthand. At our Clubhouse, our winter and summer camps fill up right away. We have waitlists all the time. That tells me residents need a place to send their kids. We are helping parents provide for their families and the community is stronger as a result. For me, that is a major way we impact the communities of Carson and South Los Angeles.
Dream big! If the sky was the limit, what is one thing you wish you could provide for your Club kids?
Many of our members struggle academically and I wish we had more volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring assistance. Many of our kids experience lack of stability at home. It is important for me that at the Club the adults who interact with them are regular and frequent. Having volunteers who can come every week is my dream!!!
Do you have any closing thoughts for us?
Working at the BGCC is hard work but it is also the most fulfilling work I could ask for. I am certain my work and the entire BGCC team are making a difference.
Are you interested in volunteering with youth and being a partner with Maria? Check out our Volunteer page and join our volunteer team!