BGCSA Announces Ada Saenz as Chief Executive Officer

BGCSA Names Ada Saenz as Chief Executive Officer

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio (BGCSA), is proud to announce that Ms. Ada Saenz has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer, reporting to the Board of Directors. As Chief Executive Officer, Ada is responsible for the daily management and operations of the entire San Antonio nonprofit organization, serving the most vulnerable youth in Bexar County.

In 2020, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio was faced with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic; our leadership team went through a big transitional period, and virtual learning was a new adventure.  Even though 2021 propelled us forward, there was still so much uncertainty. We pulled together, nothing seemed impossible because we had the right team to lead and take charge of the mission.  But in every strong organization there is always something or someone pushing you forward. Behind every solid team is a strong leader who inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, and for us, that is Ada Saenz.

With a master’s degree in Community Mental Health Counseling from UTSA and leadership appointments in local nonprofit organizations, Ada’s career has been devoted to serving underrepresented youth in our community. She started her tenure with BGCSA in 2015 as Director of Clubhouse Operations and later served as Vice President of Operations. Ms. Saenz was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2019 and most recently served as Interim Chief Executive Officer during a national search.

Ada’s promotion to Chief Executive Officer provides continuity of the organization into the next decade.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio remains committed to supporting youth through the challenges and obstacles they encounter, while providing opportunities and resources to achieve great futures.” The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio (BGCSA) is to inspire youth, especially those who need us most, to achieve their full potential in a safe, positive, and engaging environment that promotes education, health, and character development.

Please join us in congratulating Ada! 

Panda Cares

Support from Panda Cares offers Youth Enrichment Activities in the After School Space

Youth at Harlandale ISD Extended Day Programs participate in daily homework assistance, allowing staff time to help youth work on their academic goals. The goal at our sites is for youth to be promoted to the next grade level and develop healthy learning and studying habits.  In addition to daily homework assistance, youth were provided with enrichment activities that included DIY STEM projects in order to ignite their curiosity and help our little scientist discover the world in a new light. DIY STEM activities were provided at three EDP sites, Schulze, Wright, and Gilbert Elementary.  We did the following experiments: DNA Extraction from strawberries & Fungus and Bacteria.

Thanks to the generosity of Panda Cares, our clubs were able to provide additional staff to work with youth and help those that needed additional support when completing homework assignments.  In addition, having a staff on board to create fun DIY STEM activities kept our youth coming back and checking in daily to see if there was a new activity planned.

Thanks to Boys & Girls Clubs if San Antonio’s partnership with Panda Cares, EDP sites are able to provide youth a safe place to go after school where they receive mentorship and daily homework assistance. Check out the Facebook post here. 

Reindeer Brigade

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio is once again asking for the community’s help in bringing joy and cheer to our members this holiday season. This is your chance to enlist in our annual Reindeer Brigade! As our families navigate recovery from an incredibly challenging past 18 months, many are still working to fully recover, making this year’s Reindeer Brigade program more important than ever before. They say raising a child takes a village; providing holiday cheer takes a Brigade! Your gift helps to make sure that every child at our Clubhouses feels extra special this holiday season. With your help, we can make over 1,700 Club members’ holiday wishes come true.

Fund a Wish: Click (here) to fund a wish. Donors will decide how many wishes they would like to fund. (Suggested spending is $30 per child.)

Day of the Girl

Day of the Girl Honors Club Alumni

From Questioning Her Worth to Finding Her Confidence: Lizzy’s Story

When I was 14, I spent a lot of time with some girls who I thought were my best friends. They were smart and got straight As — I was in awe of them and how effortless they made it all seem. For me, school was an uphill battle. I have attention deficit disorder (ADD), so staying focused in the classroom and retaining information was a constant struggle. I had to work twice as hard to succeed half as much as these girls. I wanted to be just like them. 

You can imagine my devastation when I realized they didn’t care as much about me as I did about them. Those girls made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, like I had to prove myself over and over again to be included. I was already painfully shy and unsure of myself; how they treated me took a toll on my self-esteem. 

A Critical Turning Point

Around this time, I was an active participant in the Young Achievers program at the San Antonio Boys & Girls Club. The program is primarily for eighth graders to help develop new skills, prepare for high school, learn more about college and explore pathways for the future. When I first became involved, I thought this would just be another youth motivational program — something I could check off the list and move on. But Young Achievers was special. It changed me. The community I became a part of, the mentors who entered my life, and the love and support I received through this Boys & Girls Club program awakened confidence in me that hadn’t existed before.

Through Young Achievers, I met people like Mr. Rockett, the director of the Young Achievers program. He took the time to work with me one-on-one to improve my communication skills, prepare for college interviews and write application essays. His constructive criticism and insistence that I never give up on myself helped me realize that having to work harder to succeed is valuable and something to feel proud of, not ashamed of and daunted by. 

I also met other Boys & Girls Club members facing personal challenges and providing support and encouragement to each other. I’m still connected with some of them today, more than four years later.

A Life-Changing Realization

My experiences in the Young Achievers program helped me recognize my strengths and not give up on something or assume I can’t achieve it just because it is more challenging for me. I found opportunities to truly shine — I realized I don’t need to be flawless; I just need to be me. I also learned that true friends wouldn’t make me feel like I need to change who I am to be valued.

My mom is a high school nurse. I admire how hard she works and how dedicated she has been to me and my twin sisters’ futures our whole lives. In discovering my strengths, I also realized that what I admire about my mother is ingrained in me. She has always been this constant driving force nudging me to get out there and explore different interests and give my best effort, even when something seems impossible. If it weren’t for her, I might never have had the courage to get involved in robotics and engineering (my passions and my planned career path), and I certainly would never have seen myself as part of the Young Achievers program.

As I start college at Texas A&M University, I know there are still challenges to face and hurdles to clear to find my great future. But thanks to the Young Achievers program, the Boys & Girls Club and my amazing mom, I now have the self-confidence to meet those challenges head-on. I’m excited for what my future holds and so grateful for the people in my life who keep urging me forward.

Big Give 2021

Save the Date: Big Give 2021 is September 23

SAVE THE DATE and get ready for Big Give 2021 on Thursday, September 23! It’s a day of online community giving, and your support is crucial to ensure Great Futures for San Antonio youth.

Double your impact during the Match Minutes:

10:15AM      11:15AM        3:15PM     6:15PM 

 Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio (BGCSA) has been serving the at-risk youth of Bexar County for the past 81 years. With year-round programming that focuses on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character, members have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Clubs offer programs in five core areas: Education and Career Development; Health and Life Skills; Character and Leadership Development; The Arts; and Sports, Fitness, and Recreation.

 
BGCSA serves youth ages 6 to 18 years, at six clubhouses and multiple on-site afterschool locations in some of the city’s most disadvantaged communities. At the Clubs, members develop the skills, positive lifestyle habits, and self-confidence to successfully navigate their high-risk family and neighborhood environments. The programs also foster academic success and character development, with the goal of increasing the high school graduation and college matriculation rates for youth.
With the help of supporters like you, BGCSA is committed to doing whatever it takes to help vulnerable youth succeed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this included Clubs staying open full days to support students learning virtually, which served over 525 students. Of those who attended regularly, 97% maintain passing grades in all their core classes.
 
Today, it means helping members and their families continue to navigate the academic, social, and emotional impacts of the pandemic. Members will participate in programming that helps mitigate learning losses and regain a sense of safety and security, while also engaging in social emotional learning to increase their mental health resiliency. Click here for more information. 

Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio Welcomes New Board Member

Meet Our Newest Board Member

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio Board of Directors is growing and are thrilled to welcome new Board Member, Morris Smith.

Morris is currently the Director of Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability for Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages and has already demonstrated a commitment to academic success for Club kids through his support of a technology lab renovation at our Eastside Clubhouse and corresponding back to school event.

Morris has held numerous positions with increasing responsibility during his tenure in the Coca-Cola system. Morris is currently the Director of Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability for Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages.  He is responsible for managing the core public affairs and communications accountabilities for Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas.  Morris is responsible for government relations, issues management, stakeholder relations, local media relations, local community giving strategy, and leadership communications.

Morris is a graduate of Valparaiso University and holds an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management.  Among his recognition are the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boys and Girls Club Legacy Award, The YMCA Black and Hispanic Achievers Award, and Dollars and Cents Magazine’s Best and Brightest Business and Professional Men and Women Award. Morris served as the Chairman of the Board for 100 Black Men of Chicago, Board Member PUSH-EXCEL, Board  Member, William A Lawson Institute for Peace and Prosperity, and is Nominations and Governance Chair for Houston Area Urban League.

Welcome Morris and thank you for supporting Great Futures for youth!

Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages Donated $50,000 and New Computer Lab

Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages Gifts $50,000 and New Computer Lab

Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages (CCSWB), a company of Arca Continental, has partnered with the  Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio to provide educational aid to after-school programs the nonprofit operates to assist students in need. The local bottler has pledged a donation of $50,000 and a new computer lab, along with student laptops, to support San Antonio students in the city’s most vulnerable and financially challenged communities as they prepare for the upcoming school year.

 

CCSWB will present a check for $50,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio at an official volunteer event held at the Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio’s Eastside Clubhouse located at 3503 Martin Luther King Drive San Antonio, TX 78220. The event will take place August 20, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. After the check presentation, CCSWB volunteers will kick off the computer lab’s development by painting the lab, which is anticipated to be complete in 2022.

 

CCSWB’s donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio is part of an ongoing initiative to support students in need. The company has announced its donation of $1 million in laptops, to be distributed to students throughout several Texas communities, including the greater San Antonio area, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and other regions CCSWB serves.

 

“Access to technology has become a prerequisite for students, particularly due to the evolving pandemic,” said Ada Saenz, Interim CEO for the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio. “Thanks to Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio will be well-equipped to navigate the digital elements of their academic pathways and succeed in school.”

 

In addition to the computer lab, CCSWB will sponsor the 2021 Boys & Girls Clubs Back to School Event. The Back to School Event will take place August 21st from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and will be held at the Eastside Clubhouse, for all Boys & Girls Clubhouse members across the city.

 

“Today’s students are our world’s next generation of leaders, but so many do not have a computer at home to complete their school assignments,” said Jean Claude Tissot, president of Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages. “As part of our commitment to the San Antonio community, we are thrilled to support the Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio team in their mission to serve students in need.”

 

About CCSWB
Dallas-based Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages (CCSWB), a company of Arca Continental, is one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers in the United States. CCSWB produces, markets and distributes Coca-Cola brands throughout Texas and parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The company employs more than 8,000 associates who operate 7 production plants and 37 distribution facilities, serving more than 31 million consumers.  Headquartered in Monterrey, Mexico, Arca Continental is one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers in the world with an outstanding history spanning more than 91 years. Within its Coca-Cola franchise, Arca Continental serves a population of more than 118 million in the northern and western parts of Mexico as well as the northern region of Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and the Southwestern U.S.  Arca Continental also produces and markets snacks under the brand names Wise in the U.S., Bokados in Mexico and Inalecsa in Ecuador. For more information about the companies, please visit www.cocacolaswb.com and www.arcacontal.com.

 

About the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio

The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio (BGCSA) is to inspire youth, especially those who need them most, to achieve their full potential in a safe, positive and engaging environment that promotes education, health and character development. The Clubs provide after school and summer programs for youth, ages 6 to 18 years old. BGCSA creates an engaging space for over 1,000 youth who may otherwise be home alone, unsupervised. At BGCSA, members not only have fun, they stay safe, foster positive relationships, build self-confidence and succeed. Visit BeGreatSA.org for more information. Eastside Clubhouse Located at: 3503 Martin Luther King Drive San Antonio, TX 78220.

Thank You for Supporting Back2School!

Thank you for supporting Back2School!

Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio hosted a fun Back2School drive-thru event for Club youth and their families at the Eastside Clubhouse. Families were invited to drive through where they would receive an Old Navy gift card, Target gift card, breakfast tacos, and a backpack filled with supplies to jump start the new year. Youth also got the opportunity to high five the San Antonio Missions Ballapeño and get free tickets to a Missions Game! This would not of been possible without the support of our generous partners. Thank you for supporting San Antonio youth, as Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio works towards making this school year better than ever. Check out the recap from this great event below!

Back 2 School Campaign

Back 2 School is Better than Ever!

After a year like no other, youth and parents have never been more ready to get Back to School! Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio is ready to support youth after school with homework assistance and academic enrichment, new opportunities and experiences, positive mentorship, a sense of belonging, and so much more!

The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated rates of anxiety and depression, with nearly 50% of parents reporting new or worsening symptoms in their children. At the Clubs, youth have access to caring adult mentors and
supportive peers, and group activities that are important to their development. At the end of the last school year, teachers across America reported that the pandemic has led to “significant” learning loss for students, particularly among low-income students and students of color. BGCSA has worked to combat these statistics by hosting activities like the Annual Spelling Bee, Summer Brain Gain, and unveiling the new DREAM Park so youth can continue learning and have a safe place to play. Now, we are getting ready for the new year with a Back 2 School campaign that aims to provide kids with a sense of belonging, opportunities to lead and serve, and most of all a chance to discover the potential within themselves. The average cost of school supplies is $488 per child, putting a burden on many struggling families. Students who don’t begin the school year with all the supplies they need can fall behind quickly.

 

Every dollar invested in the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio is a sound investment in providing youth with the opportunity to discover their potential and break the cycle of generational poverty. With your support we can meet our goal of $10,000 to ensure this year is BETTER THAN EVER!

Check out this recap of Summer 2021!

BGCSA Announces Departure of Renée Garvens, Chief Development Officer

After three of dedicated service, Renée Garvens is leaving to pursue a new opportunity with the Tobin Center

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio CEO, Andre Ginnane, announced on Tuesday that Renée Garvens, Chief Development Officer for three years, will resign to pursue a new opportunity with the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
 
Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio has begun a search for a new Chief Development Officer. Ms. Garvens will continue in her role until June 18, 2021, while the search is underway to ensure a smooth transition for the new Chief Development Officer. 
 
“Renée has been a tremendous asset to the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio. We are so proud of the work she has done and the lasting impact she has made in our communities and in the lives of the amazing Club kids we have the honor of serving,” said Andre Ginnane, CEO, “Renée cares deeply, and it shows in her many significant contributions.”
 
“The best part about working for Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio is the Club kids I have served the last three years,” said Ms. Garvens, “It has been an honor to work alongside so many amazing people to improve the lives of youth in San Antonio.”
 
Ms. Garvens driven personality and dedication to Club youth have allowed her to develop relationships in order to further the development of the Club. Throughout the years she has worked tirelessly to serve the young people of San Antonio, so they may be successful in the Club and in their community. She organized several events, like the Youth of the Year Gala and the annual Wine Tastings, and was a part of the development of the Youth Development Park at the Eastside Clubhouse. Ms. Garvens final projects include the grand opening of the Olympic Sized pools at the Eastside and Calderon Clubhouses and the construction of a new park that will be debuting this summer.
 
The Staff, Board of Directors, and all the Club Members wish all the best to Renée Garvens in her future at the Tobin Center, and heartfelt gratitude for her years of devoted service to improving the lives of young people in San Antonio.