GOALS Fall 2018 Update

October 1, 2018

Hello All, 

The incredible momentum built throughout our summer of inspiration, has carried into a fantastic Fall season for GOALS with new programs, record numbers of youngsters participating in activities, and exciting progress to report from all angles. When we last left off during the scorching days of triple digits summer heat during out GOALS Cadets "Summer of Service" we were literally plowing new service and program ground with an expanded landscape of the El Modena Nature Center in Orange, and just beginning a remarkable community renewal effort in west Anaheim's "ABC" neighborhood. Oh yes, we were also expanding our ever popular "Special Sports" efforts with best buddies- the large nearby "My Day Counts" program which serves a populations of more than 800 disabled adults in north Orange County. if the focus of our service wasn't inspiring enough, a team of 20 AmeriCorps "Summer Associates" - made up of a majority of GOALS alumni, along with the veteran GOALS coaching staff and more than 160 teen GOOL Cadets, formed service platoons to make that and more a daily reality in our region. 

A daily fixture in the midst of all this was none other than our own Gustavo Hernandez. Just a dew months ago with stage IV diagnosis of Hodgins Lymphoma, we were hopeful that at best, he could slowly endure his treatments in his small family apartment. However, Gustavo, with medical clearance, appeared at GOALS every single summer fay and typically was the last GOALS Cadet to sign out as he assisted with administration, program planning and office duties. His remarkable bearing, strength of character, and enduring optimism radiated much like the sun each day and the power of that presence drive us to new heights of achievement. I have never been so impressed with any individual in my life as I have been with the courage and dedications of this young man- and  for those who have had the privilege to be in his company, I dare say they feel the same way. In just a few more months, Gustavo will be cleared to return to high school - and we expect he'll resume his full schedule of academics and athletics with his beloved lacrosse at Valenica High School. It seems like a miracle and also a reminder to all of us to make the most of ourselves each and every day. 

Our summer-time partnership with My Day Counts have been a remarkable one for many years - and not is have grown to a year-round program! In September we launched an unbrella initiative called "GOALS- Everybody Counts" which will serve about 150 disabled adults with a mixture of athletic, gardening and job training activities. Most of the efforts will beled by GOALS coaches and those referred for services opportunities, in tandem with My Day Counts staffers. Various GOALS Dreamscape community facilities will be put to steady use. 

The GOALS A+ Opportunity Academy participations has soared as well as both the nearby Mann and Edison elementary schools have highly impacted school campuses which rotate about one quarter of the enrolled youngsters "off track" at any given times. this GOALS program enables as many as 60 youngsters weekly to enjoy an enrichment day camp at GOALSLand - as GOALS lives up to our promise to continue strong FREE community programs for area low income public schools. 

In west Anaheim, our GOALS "ABC" project continues to grow and it has taken on much deeper meaning than perhaps we initially intended. What began as a "Summer of Service" project to help create some better play space for area children, has quick;y evolved as a major urban "regenerations initiative which we've dubbed "A Better Community". The ABC Community is one that is well worn, depressed and unfortunately has harbored many anti-social activities. But with the strong support of some top Anaheim leaders such as Mayor Tom Tait, Councilman Jose Moreno and Councilman James Vanderbilt, along with progressive organizations and the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, we've got plans to open a community clubhouse, provide daily free youth programs in the community, field trips to Anaheim ICE and other GOALS venues and further expand our model programs both here and elsewhere. Come see the fun and unfold - hope to see you in the months ahead....

Dave Wilk

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