Santa Clara Valley Boys’ & Girls’Club Youth of the Year, Jose Ambriz (above left). B&G Club staff member and former Club member Jose Saucedo (above right).

Youth of the Year Ambriz, Saucedo speak of positive B&GCSCV impacts

March 05, 2010
Santa Paula News

Acclaimed actor and activist Martin Sheen was the featured speaker at the February 26 “Breakfast of Champions” benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley, and he shared the stage with two kids who spoke of the positive aspects the club has had on their lives. The event was held at the Museum of Ventura County Farm Museum, and drew a crowd of about 300 business leaders, community activists and elected officials from throughout the county who gathered to support the financially troubled club.

B&GCSCV Youth of the Year Jose Ambriz shared his devotion to the club and its role in his life. “It’s been a great experience” that Ambriz said “changed my life,” after he reluctantly joined six years ago when his mother urged he especially take advantage of the club’s homework program.

A shy boy, the club “helped me open up and make friends,” and instilled in him leadership and mentoring traits. Club staff “support me and my dreams,” including his desire to play NFL football. Ambriz said the club taught him to “shoot for the moon... even if you miss you’ll land on the stars.”

Former Club Kid and staffer Jose Saucedo told the crowd their support of the club would give them a chance to be a hero. Coming from a “rough neighborhood,” Saucedo said he distrusted law enforcement and was on the wrong path until he was invited to play basketball at the local club. “It was,” he noted, “the most fun I’d had in years,” and staffer Buddy Escoto gave Saucedo an application. 

“I never told Buddy this, but you saved my life... if it wasn’t for your support,” Saucedo said, he would be “in jail or dead.” Now, “Every day I do my best to impact the life of a kid, every day I return the favor that Buddy did for me” through the club. 

“Every day” Saucedo works with kids, pushes them to do their homework and succeed. “But we cannot do this without your support. Donate your time, your money, support us... but most of all,” said Saucedo, “be a hero” and help ensure the success of the club and its programs.

“I have to mirror sentiments of Jose” Saucedo, said Santa Paula Police Department Lieutenant Carlos Juarez, a former B&GCSCV Club Kid. “The club had a huge impact on my life, sent me in another direction... high school was so cliquish but the club was all inclusive, we all hung out together.... The club,” said Juarez, “absolutely had a real positive influence on my life.”

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