Mentorship program brings together volunteers and kids in sand and surf – Daily Breeze
Nearly 200 children, many of whom were walking the shore for the first time, built sandcastles, learned to surf and bodyboard and took part in a massive relay race on Saturday, September 18.
It was the 20th Annual Beach Day, sponsored by the nonprofit PS I Love You foundation.
Being back in the sun and on the sand was uplifting, said founder Patricia Jones.
“When you hear that healthy laugh from a child and realize: this is what’s supposed to happen – all the time, for all of us,” Jones said on the Monday after the event when the association associates a adult volunteer to an underserved child. .
Jones was overjoyed, she said, after a year when so many of us had little to celebrate.
Day at the Beach, after being canceled last year amid the pandemic, brought in single volunteers and those from other nonprofits such as Walk with Sally, Boys and Girls Club, Richstone Family Center and National Charity League. A total of 350 people came to help at the community-wide event, Jones said.
Sponsors for the event included TechStyle Fashion Group of El Segundo, South Bay Lexus and CDC Small Business Finance.
When she launched the appeal for children ages 5 to 12 this year, Jones said, many organizations that send children, such as the Boys and Girls Club, were ecstatic. They told him that the children they serve need human relationships more than ever.
Bringing together people from a variety of backgrounds, Jones said, can foster an uncomfortable connection at first. But then, as the kids start to interact with people who may be different from them and come from different places, the mood starts to change.
“There is that hope,” Jones said. “The world can be different from the way I see it. And it’s okay.
It’s about planting a seed of inclusiveness, Jones said.
Jones began her social / emotional learning program for at-risk youth in 1998. The idea behind PS I Love You, which she and volunteers have deployed across South Bay, is that self-confidence, respect and compassion form a basis for later academic success.
Jones teaches that there are only four things we can control in any given situation: Choose what we think, say, do, or feel.
And, she says, it doesn’t matter how or where you live. Harnessing those thoughts, words, actions and feelings can be powerful.
“Whether you live in a car or in a mansion, the impact of these four things can change your perspective,” Jones said.
For Day at the Beach, it’s the personal connection that makes the difference. In fact, Jones said, as they played in the sand, she heard a child say to a friend, “It’s the happiest day of our lives.”
You never know when a single person can impact your life, Jones said.
“He or she could break something that you were struggling with,” Jones said, “or they could build something that you didn’t know was there.”