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November 21, 2018

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Findlay Good Works:

Program keeps kids engaged during vulnerable after-school hours

Image

Leila Navidi

Olivia Smith, left, 12, a Cashman Middle School and After-School All-Stars student participates in a one-mile obstacle course challenge at the South Point on Friday, May 24, 2013.

Jodi Manzella

Jodi Manzella

Jodi Manzella, After-School All-Stars Las Vegas

• Title: Executive Director

• Agency address: 8485 W. Sunset Road, Ste. 106, Las Vegas, NV 89113

• Agency phone number: 702-259-1850

• Agency website: asaslv.org

• Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What is Findlay Good Works?

Good Works is a twice-monthly series in Las Vegas Weekly in which we highlight the efforts of nonprofit groups that are making a difference in our community. You can check out the good work of more organizations by visiting facebook.com/FindlayAutoGroup.

What does your organization do?

After-School All-Stars Las Vegas provides opportunities for underprivileged youths to participate in free after-school and summer programs that focus on academics, athletics and cultural enrichment. Programs include tutoring, language and literacy skills, arts and crafts, dance, music, coding, chess, robotics, creative writing, soccer, swimming, cheer, cooking and media, just to name a few. The goal is to keep students actively engaged in school and working toward high school graduation; provide enrichment opportunities students would otherwise not receive or experience; and keep students safe, productive and active in the vulnerable after-school hours.

When and why was it established?

After-School All-Stars Las Vegas was organized in 2003, after acquiring and broadening the services offered by the original organization, the Greater Las Vegas Inner-City Games, which was founded in 1995 by Elaine Wynn. Since its inception, the organization has served more than 120,000 youths.

Who are its clients today?

More than 6,500 youths from 16 elementary and middle schools participate in the program. Schools are generally located in lower socioeconomic areas of the Valley and all are Title I schools in which the majority of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

What are its current initiatives or goals?

Our vision is for our All-Stars to be safe and healthy, to graduate high school and go to college, to find careers they love and then give back to their communities. We want to help them build confidence and self-esteem, to encourage them to say no to gangs, drugs and violence; and say yes to hope, learning and life. We value integrity, learning, partnerships and human dignity to create loyalty and trust within the organization, with our donors and the community.

What services might the community not know about?

Participants have an opportunity to meet with CEOs and business leaders, learning about their jobs and their impact on the community. We organize field trips to TV stations to see how a news program is put together, and we visit other places of business. These kinds of experiences give our kids an inside look at the real world, inspiring them to stay in school. We also take them on adventures to Red Rock Canyon. Many have never left their neighborhoods or experienced simple pleasures like camping or hiking. The opportunities we provide are transformational and eye opening.

What can people do to get involved in the cause you serve?

Volunteers can work with our students during after-school programs and assist with programming such as sports, arts, dance, etc. Opportunities also are available within our fundraising and programming events. There is a volunteer sign-up form on our website. People can also invest in the organization by making a donation.

What can Southern Nevadans do to improve our community in general?

There are a multitude of non-profit organizations where individuals can provide their time and talents to help make Southern Nevada a better place for all. I encourage everyone to research an area they are passionate about and locate an organization with a mission to support that cause.

Where do you see your organization in five years?

Our goal in the next five years is to continue to secure dedicated donors so we can increase the number of youths we serve. We have a waiting list of schools that would like to receive our programming.

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.