The Center is a free after school program for low income, at-risk youth, located in a gang driven neighborhood where forty percent of the city’s crime originates from. The R.E.C. Center is open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and offers its participants the opportunity to join in organized sports, arts & crafts projects, computer classes and the R.E.C. library program. The R.E.C. Center encourages students to complete their daily homework assignments in “The Homework Club” prior to participating in organized R.E.C. programs. I tutor students each day, assist with each days organized activity, mentor Club REC Participants and handle the Centers REC Buck (reward) program.The Center directly helps the children so there is more one-on-one interaction with adults, tutors and mentors to achieve their goals in a step-by-step basis. Each child at the center has the potential to do great things but does not have access to resources or the support they need. These children are the adults of tomorrow who don’t typically join a school club or get involved with sports activities. Many carry grades of “C’s” or below through high school. A few months ago, I realized that while many of the Centers’ participants are in elementary and junior high school, because of their ages, it would be appropriate to introduce them to the structure of an organized “club”. Forming a junior club at the center would empower students to get involved in the community and organize additional after hour activities for participants. This opportunity serves as an introduction to a variety of things such as, community service, club involvement, leadership & organizational skills, as well as important traits that may lead to extra curricular activities in high school.Most of the students agreed the club would be fun, so “Club REC” was formed. Sarah is twelve and serves as the President, Luis, fourteen, is Vice-President, Sayra (10) & Ana (12) are Treasurers, and Magali, age thirteen, is Secretary. Each had a mini campaign to get other Center participants to vote for them. Since the club’s inception, Club REC has applied for a grant from the county through the Friday Night Live Program and received their request, face painted at the Mandarin Festival, made their own Thanksgiving dinner from scratch, written donation letters to help keep the center up and running, and will sell food at the Maidu Arts & Crafts Fair this weekend to raise money to make and fill stockings for the Head Start preschoolers across the street. I taught many of the children how to use a sewing machine and a hot glue gun so they could make their own stocking to fill and give to the Head Start Preschoolers. We try to teach the kids that giving is always better then receiving. I oversee the club’s progress on a day to day basis, mentoring them at their meetings, listening in on follow-up phone calls on their donation letters, checking thank you notes and helping them organize & budget their projects.The kids are having a lot of fun focusing on their Christmas project and learning to give back to the community. Seeing everyone working together and helping one another is a phenomenal and rewarding experience. I feel satisfied knowing I’m helping children succeed, not only by tutoring them with their homework, but by empowering them through Club REC. They have begun to understand the concept of being involved in the community. I feel that by doing this, I am helping them to move forward, showing them that getting involved in their community is an important part of becoming a successful adult.Each homework assignment or club project is a stepping stone to a future success. I would like to continue to help children succeed everyday by being an involved elementary school teacher and community mentor. By providing opportunities at such a young age, Club REC is empowering students to become volunteers of the future. My hope is that Club REC will teach each child to “pay it forward” as teens and adults and get more involved to enrich the community in which they live, therefore giving other children the same opportunity that they were graciously given.