Lack of funds forces youth empowerment group to say NO

For the last seven years, the Eleanor Azevedo Memorial Fund – Youth Empowerment Services (YES) has helped hundreds Colusa County Youth become more active through youth sports and enrichment activities. This year the organization is being forced to say NO when it always said YES.

“We haven’t been getting as many grants as we have in the past and now we’ve exhausted our funds,” said Rivera. “We’ve never had to say no until now.”

Though the organization has raised funds during the concert in the park, held its annual flea market, the amounts aren’t enough to cover the need.

“We provide funding for about 40 or 50 applicants a year,” said Rivera. “We’ve had a few apply for assistance with little league registration fees, and soon we will have youth football.”

Rivera is heartbroken that the group will have to say no when so many are in need.

“Our first responsibility is foster children and at-risk children,” said Rivera.

Rivera commented that in the past the organization helped out with more than just registration fees.

“We used to help with uniform and gear purchases,” said Rivera. “We now only provide assistance up to $50 per child for registration fees.”

Rivera added that the group isn’t just about sports.

“We help provide funds for any youth self-enrichment activity,” said Rivera.

Since the group was founded in 2010, they have contributed over $50,000 to the community.

“We have relied a lot on various grants, and fundraising activities,” said Rivera. “We used to host the concession stand with the little league, and held an annual walk, but are unable to do them due to costs or insufficient attendance. Instead of a walk, our family hosts a picnic to help raise funds.”

After the news hit social media, Lori’s California Pantry stepped up to the plate to help.

“I have raised three kids and know how expensive it can be for them to participate in activities,” said Lori Garofalo, proprietor of Lori’s California Pantry, a home based kitchen. “I don’t want kids to be left out and not to enjoy the same activities with their friends, so I offered to help.”

Lori’s California Pantry is selling vouchers for a dozen cookies, $10 each. Each dozen raises $5 towards the fund.

“People can purchase their cookies now, they make great Valentine’s Day and teacher appreciation gifts,” said Garofalo. “Or they can use their voucher to receive their cookies later when they may need them. The vouchers won’t expire.”

Garofalo added that she is offering fresh baked Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, and Chocolate Crinkle cookies. “Special requests can be discussed,” said Garofalo.

To order your cookies, email californiapantry@gmail.com or send a message on Facebook @capantry.

Rivera added that the group is planning their annual flea market the first week in May.

“The flea market is usually good for us, we bring in around $500,” said Rivera.

In August, the group is planning a Family Fun 50s day.

“It will be a family friendly fun day filled with 50s music, games, prizes, and old fashioned hamburgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes,” said Rivera.

Rivera commented that more information would be released as soon as details have been finalized.

If you would like to donate or contribute to the Eleanor send your checks payable to Community Foundation of Colusa County – YES Program, to 100 Sunrise Blvd., Suite A3, Colusa, CA 95932.

“For every $100 raised, we can help two kids,” said Rivera.

In keeping with the spirit of saying yes, Rivera added the group had received several baseball mitts and they are available. For more information email eam.yes17@yahoo.com or call (530)458-7372.

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Lloyd Green Jr. is the Owner and Publisher of the Williams Pioneer Review. He is dedicated in publishing the news and informing the community of Colusa County. Lloyd has been with the publication since 2008, and purchased the business in 2010. Under his ownership the newspaper has grown significantly in subscriptions, publishes weekly, and obtained the title of Newspaper of General Circulation by the Superior Court of Colusa County in Sept. 2007. Lloyd is also the director of advertising, classified manager, legal notice clerk, and circulation manager. To contact Lloyd, email him at lloyd@colusacountynews.net or call (530) 458-4141 ext. 100.