If you imagine the Boys & Girls Clubs simply involves mostly afterschool games of basketball, it’s time to reshape that image for the 21st century. And for an example of just what that means, look no further than Matthew Van, a Santa Clara High School junior who was honored Friday night as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley’s Youth of the Year.
Van, 16, has been a member of the Alviso Clubhouse for nine years and among four finalists vying for the honor. They had to practice public speaking, write essays and work on team-building exercises throughout the four-month program. And, for Van, that’s just part of what had to take on. He was already a member of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute, volunteered at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and mentored students at Pomeroy Elementary.
San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan made the Youth of the Year announcement Friday night at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley’s fundraising gala at the Signia by Hilton hotel in downtown San Jose. Van — who will represent Silicon Valley in Boys & Girls Clubs Northern California competition — hopes to attend UC Berkeley and become a pediatrician.
About 350 people attended the event, raising $450,000 for the nonprofit, which serves about 6,000 young members at 40 clubhouse locations. At the event, youth showed off some of the skills they’ve learned in STEM, art and leadership programs at stations where gala guests could challenge them at a Jenga tower, try their hand at folding an origami heart or assemble a magnetic fishing rod. (And, yes, there’s still basketball, too).
“It’s all this amazing work done by everyone here,” CEO Steve Wymer said. “And I really think we are making things better.”
ONE SHOW, TWO STAGES: City Lights Theater Company and Teatro Visión have created a great collaboration to produce “Miss You Like Hell,” the musical directed by Teatro Artistic Director Rodrigo García, which opened last weekend at City Lights.
The show, with a book and lyrics by Quiara Alegría Hudes and music by Erin McKeown, is framed around a mother and teenage daughter’s cross-country road trip and handles issues around immigration, growing up and the meaning of family with emotion and charm. And travel is not only a key part of the show, it’s also inherent to this co-production. That because the show will play at City Lights in downtown San Jose through Feb. 19 but then will move to Teatro Visión’s home theater at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in East San Jose for performances Feb. 23-26.
The production is presented in English, though there’s a lot of conversational Spanish in the mix. Neither should be a problem for audiences, as the show includes supertitles in both English and Spanish. Tickets are available at either www.cltc.org or www.teatrovision.org.
GLASS CLASS: Glass artist and educator Helen Lee, who describes her work as writing in glass, will give an artist talk, followed by a demonstration, Friday night at the Bay Area Glass Institute in San Jose. Lee — who has taught at MIT’s Glass Lab, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the California College of Art — uses blown glass to create letters and words and is teaching a workshop on her art at BAGI this week. Friday night’s event, which starts at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public. Go to www.bagi.org for more details.
SMASHING START: Most groundbreakings involve shovels and dirt, but Urban Catalyst went in a different direction Tuesday morning for the “groundbreaking” of Keystone, a Marriott TowneSuites Hotel planned for just outside downtown San Jose on West San Carlos Street. Instead of shovels, the dignitaries — including San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan and Urban Catalyst CEO Erik Hayden — grabbed sledge hammers and bashed holes in a sheetrock wall. No doubt the smashing and bashing was a welcome stress reliever for Mahan, who wrapped up his first month in office Tuesday.