|Leland Williams, 18, (left), Yesenia Hernandez, 18, and Leland's brother, Marsellas, 19, return to the club to see other success stories on the Boys and Girls Club walls.|
|Anabel Jimenez when she graduated from the College Bound program four years ago.|
"Impoverished folk are surrounded by a world of negativity," Jimenez said. "Kids are taught to survive by being tough. But I needed more. I needed kindness, support and people who believed in me. The Boys and Girls club gave me that hope and (taught me) kindness is not a weakness."
Jimenez is one of hundreds that the College Bound program vaulted into success stories -- despite that its first year in 2002-2003 it met with dismal failure. Only one student went to college that year. Founder Mike Lansing knew he was missing something. Once he figured that out, the Harbor Area Boys and Girls club college numbers surged. Over the past four years , about 1,000 of its members trekked their way to a higher education trail and a chance to escape devastating poverty, gangs and crime.
That first year, however, Lansing spent time figuring out what went wrong with his original equation.
|Williams brothers and their friend Yesenia, says one of their favorite things is to return to see the wall of new success stories.|
"The Boys and Girls Club is obviously the place to go," said Leland Williams, 18 who was back for summer from Hawaii Pacific University with his brother. "You can feel college vibes everywhere! I mean there are pictures of college success stories all over the walls!"