header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail


Today in
S.C.V. History
April 12
1738 - Fr. Francisco Garcés born in Spain; came through SCV in 1776, found Tataviam fighting with Coastal Chumash, observed Santa Clara River flowing by night and dry by day despite the season being spring [story]
Garces statue

Many of the hopes and dreams of California State University, Northridge’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing gelled June 4 in one well-aimed squirtgun shot.

“Gaaaaaaaaah! That’s cold!” wailed Katherine Ayala, a graduating senior from the R.U.T.H. (Resilience, Unity, Transformation, Hope) YouthBuild program in Canoga Park. The teen laughed, picked up her own squirtgun and retaliated against her friend and fellow senior, Josh Guzman.

The pair were part of a group of 16 at-risk teens and four CSUN students that traveled to Castaic Lake with the university’s student-run Outdoor Adventures program for a day of kayaking, paddleboarding and fun in the sun.

CSUN’s College of Health and Human Development (HHD) runs the Boating Instruction and Safety Center on the lower portion of the man-made lake, part of a state park. The idyllic location on the park’s “Paradise Cove” boasts a sandy beach, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), wakeboarding and more.

Kayak-lifeguard“Welcome to Castaic!” exclaimed Erin Eiholzer, boating center manager, welcoming the teens and CSUN students to the lakeshore. “We don’t have anything here that will hurt you. We don’t have sharks. Unless you saw Dinocroc (a 2004 horror flick), which was filmed here. We do have fish in the lake, and there are bees in the grass — so please wear your shoes when you’re walking back and forth.”

Eiholzer polled the group about their level of swimming experience and time in the outdoors. One teen said he’d never been on a large body of water (lake, ocean, river) before the June 4 adventure.

Eiholzer and her staff of lifeguards, all CSUN students, taught the teens how to properly don a lifejacket, carry a kayak paddle and sit on the watercraft.

“We are not rocking the boat today,” she said, grinning. “We are not capsizing or tipping the boats. Also, if you’re using the SUP, make sure you feel comfortable falling into the water — because you will fall in a lot!”

The graduating seniors were only too happy to fall in the water, which measured at a comfortable 72 degrees, a little warmer than the air temperature just before lunchtime. It was tough to tell who was having more fun — the teenagers or their young leaders from CSUN. The sounds of laughter, splashing and cheering echoed across the lake.

Part of CSUN’s Department of Recreation and Tourism Management, the boating center opened in 1976 and serves nearly 11,000 people annually with community service programs and activities, as well as classes for college credit and noncredit. In addition to boating, water safety education and wakeboarding, the center offers water skiing, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and nature walks.

Erin-kayaksAs part of the university’s Neighborhood Partners in Action (NPA) program with Canoga Park, the college has worked for several years to send CSUN undergraduates and graduate students into the Canoga Park community to lend expertise, manpower and energy — and to learn by doing. The program teams students, faculty and staff with more than 30 community agencies to improve the lives of San Fernando Valley families.

In fall 2012, CSUN launched the NPA program with Canoga Park, a community of about 60,000 in the northwest corner of the Valley, through the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing.

“If you want to assist a community in moving itself forward, the chances of helping an open community are greater,” said program coordinator Craig Finney. “Canoga Park was opening their doors. … As [outgoing Provost] Harry Hellenbrand puts it, ‘We need to be stewards of place.’”

Canoga Park is a culturally diverse community, heavily Latino and economically challenged in some areas, Finney said.

“We go to each agency and ask them, ‘What is it you need? What kind of resources do you have? Where would you like to go?’” Finney said. “We’re not trying to go in and ‘fix’ Canoga Park. We’re letting Canoga Park figure out what it needs to grow. We’re a neighbor, long term. At the end, we’re trying to increase quality of life, and we’re also giving CSUN students and staff opportunities for community service.”

R.U.T.H. YouthBuild is just one NPA partner agency. The organization provides a high school education, job training, counseling and leadership development to teens and young adults in Canoga Park. The young people that YouthBuild serves have faced barriers and challenges including growing up in the foster care system and single-parent homes, and struggling with addiction, domestic violence, trying to move on from gang involvement, and living as undocumented teens. They come to YouthBuild because they are ready to turn their life around, said Michelle Miranda, founder and executive director.

During the academic year, CSUN students provide math and science tutoring to YouthBuild participants, with the help of the organization’s credentialed staff. Many of those teachers received their credentials at CSUN, Miranda said.

“Our young people also can make visits to CSUN, to see what college life is like and that it is attainable,” Miranda said. “A lot of them see the barriers before them, and this really bridges that gap — especially when they see familiar faces.”

Finney and professor Connie White have provided strategies that have helped the YouthBuild staff in meeting the diverse needs of their students, Miranda said. Mentors from CSUN’S MOSAIC program(through the Department of Sociology) work with the high school students throughout the academic year to set goals and provide encouragement and support.

Other CSUN participants have included professor Veda Ward, whose recreation and tourism management class visited with the students. The undergraduates sparked hope and excitement in the teens about their potential to attend college in the future, Miranda said.

“I really appreciate President [Dianne F.] Harrison’s initiative to focus a lot of CSUN’s work on specific communities,” she said. “We’re establishing a good, solid foundation so we can serve the community for years to come.”

The seniors from R.U.T.H. YouthBuild will graduate from the organization’s charter high school on June 22, in a commencement celebration at the Hilton in Woodland Hills. The students come from all over the San Fernando Valley, some from as far as Sun Valley, said Vanessa Solache, mentor director for the program, who chaperoned the class trip.

As NPA participants — on the CSUN campus, across Canoga Park and in the great outdoors — look to the future, they are developing plans to touch even more families and students through the university and its agency partners, Finney said. And the future is bright.

“We can have CSUN students come and inspire young people who’ve had the flame go out,” Miranda said. “The community comes in and gives them time, inspires them and gives them hope. I can’t put a dollar amount on that. We have exceeded our expectations.”




Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

No Comments

    Leave a Comment

    Thursday, Apr 11, 2024
    Offering a look into Los Angeles through his eyes, photographer and director Estevan Oriol will talk about his journey as an artist and his photography during a visit next week to California State University, Northridge. 
    Monday, Apr 8, 2024
    Greg Gifford, Ph.D., will be the featured speaker at this year’s commencement ceremony at The Master’s University.
    Monday, Apr 8, 2024
    The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees will hold a business meeting Wednesday, April 10, beginning at 4 p.m.
    Thursday, Apr 4, 2024
     California Institute of the Arts and Vermont College of Fine Arts announced Tuesday a formal affiliation that will join CalArts and VCFA together in the ongoing delivery of transformative arts education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
    Thursday, Apr 4, 2024
    The California Institute of the Arts community mourns the loss of beloved teacher and alumnus Lou Florimonte (Film/Video MFA 77), who passed away last month.
    Keep Up With Our Facebook

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    1738 - Fr. Francisco Garcés born in Spain; came through SCV in 1776, found Tataviam fighting with Coastal Chumash, observed Santa Clara River flowing by night and dry by day despite the season being spring [story]
    Garces statue
    Have you ever wanted to journey to another country to experience an array of new and unique cultures and customs?
    Jason Gibbs | Explore the World at Celebrate!
    With a birdie on the final hole, Jonathan Larson won the The Master's University Spring Invitational and lifted The Master's men's team to an 11-stroke victory at the Crystalaire Country Club in Llano, Calif. Tuesday.
    Larson Lifts Mustangs to Victory at Spring Invitational
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — A bill that would allow California poll workers and voters to sue over election intimidation is advancing through the Legislature after a Wednesday vote.
    Bill Allowing California Poll Workers to Sue Over Intimidation Advances
    College of the Canyons moved its win streak to four games after taking down visiting Antelope Valley College by a 14-12 final score in a back-and-forth game at Mike Gillespie Field on Tuesday.
    Cougars Survive Slugfest Against AVC 14-12
    The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency regular board meeting will be held Tuesday, April 16, at 6 p.m.
    April 16: SCV Water Public Hearing on Mandatory Recycled Water Ordinance
    The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency’s Public Outreach and Legislation Committee is holding an in-person meeting Thursday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m.
    April 18: SCV Water Public Outreach, Legislation Committee Meeting
    Offering a look into Los Angeles through his eyes, photographer and director Estevan Oriol will talk about his journey as an artist and his photography during a visit next week to California State University, Northridge. 
    Celebrated Photographer Estevan Oriol to Speak at CSUN
    Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, April 17, for an unforgettable evening of networking and fun at Sand Canyon Country Club, located in the picturesque foothills of the Angeles National Forest.
    April 17: SCV Chamber After Hours Mixer
    California State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Thursday his bill to help reduce overcrowding at animal shelters across the state, by expanding access to low and no-cost spay/neuter services, was approved in the Senate Education Committee.
    Wilk’s Animal Shelter Overcrowding Bill Clears First Hurdle
    City of Santa Clarita residents are invited to register for the Neighborhood Cleanup taking place on Saturday, April 27, and join the City in removing litter from their local neighborhoods.
    Pre-Register Now for 2024 Neighborhood Cleanup Day
    College of the Canyons student-athletes Nicole Lerma (women's swim and dive) and Domenik Cervantes (baseball) have been named the COC Athletic Department's Women's and Men's Student-Athletes of the Week for the period running April 1-6.
    COC Names Nicole Lerma, Domenik Cervantes Athletes of the Week
    In celebration of Earth Day, Los Angeles County Beaches and Harbors is partnering with Heal the Bay to host Kids Beach Cleanup event at Dockweiler Beach on Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., rain or shine.  
    April 13: L.A. County’s Kids Beach Cleanup
    1987 - Ramona Chapel and Red Schoolhouse relocated to Santa Clarita History Center in Hart Park [story]
    Red Schoolhouse
    The city of Santa Clarita hosting several art exhibits, as well as seeking artists for an upcoming gallery.
    Call for Art, Upcoming Arts Exhibitions
    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health cautions residents who are planning to visit the below Los Angeles County beaches to avoid swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters:
    Ocean Water Warning for April 10
    Circle K will offer 40 cents off per gallon of fuel between 4 and 7 p.m. local time Thursday, April 11 during Circle K Fuel Day Pop-Up and 50% off on car washes all day at over 200 participating Circle K locations including Los Angeles.
    April 11: Spring into Savings with 40 Cents Off Gas at Circle K
    This third study by SMU DataArts analyzing the demographic makeup of the arts and cultural workforce in L.A. County finds a significant shift toward greater racial and ethnic diversity since 2019, particularly at the leadership level.
    County Releases Data on Arts and Culture Workforce
    The William S. Hart Union High School District is proud to announce that Nicole Jolicoeur, Rio Norte Junior High School Special Education Teacher, has been selected as the 2024/25 Hart District Teacher of the Year.
    Nicole Jolicoeur Selected As 2024/25 Hart District Teacher of the Year
    The SCV Aerospace & Defense Forum is partnering with ITT Aerospace to hold a networking breakfast and site tour of their Valencia facility.
    April 16: SCV Aerospace & Defense Forum to host ITT Aerospace Tour
    The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation has released their Q4 2023 Economic Snapshot. 
    SCVEDC Releases Economic Snapshot for Q4 2023
    The Golden Valley High School Performing Arts Department presents cult favorite Little Shop of Horrors, a musical about a flower shop in a rough and rundown neighborhood that is taken over by a flesh-eating plant from outer space.
    April 17: Golden Valley Presents ‘Little Shop of Horrors’
    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion introduced by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and co-authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis to commemorate the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by proclaiming April 24, 2024 as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. 
    April 24: Supes Proclaim Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day
    1909 - Oil Pioneer Wallace L. Hardison killed in collision with train [story]
    Wallace Hardison