While cycling on the Christian Reformed Church’s Sea to Sea 2008 bike tour, Jim Beezhold was inspired by two urban ministries he visited that serve youths in Indiana and New Jersey.
That got him thinking about the children living on the Rincon Indian Reservation in North San Diego near his home and about using his teaching experience “to help students with their homework in a community where English is a second language and ending the cycle of poverty is an ongoing problem.”
The San Marcos Valley After School Club, which arose from Beezhold’s vision, began with 10 to 12 elementary students and one high school student. They met in a dirt clearing surrounded by trailer homes, but moved to the Pauma Valley Community Center when the weather turned cooler. Enrollment continues to increase.
The program received a grant for the purchase of materials and equipment from the funds raised by the Sea to Sea tour. With the assistance of a tutor from the program, a senior at a local high school also applied for and received a scholarship to attend a local community college.
“This should prove to be a real incentive and [the] hand up others need to avoid dropping out of the educational process,” said Beezhold.