Serving the community since 1970

City steps up with SAL kids shoes

When City of Wasco employees learned of a need for athletic shoes for needy children in town, they responded with a $1,800 donation to provide them.

Thanks to the Wasco Planning Department's Biridiana Bishop, employees were made aware of the need for running shoes for Sheriff's Athletic League kids in a boxing program to keep their fitness levels up. Bishop notified city employees that SAL was looking for donations, and the employees more than obliged.

"Boxing through SAL has been available since October," said Wasco Sheriff's Substation SAL Officer Juan Maldonado. "There are about 10 boxers, eight males and two females."

SAL boxing is run by coaches Carlos Prieto and Frank Villanueva.

In December, Wasco SAL boxing was involved in an exhibition match with Bakersfield SAL, spearheaded by Senior Deputy Martin Barron of the East Bakersfield SAL program, the Shafter Boxing Club and the Wasco SAL boxing club.

Wasco SAL boxing is not quite ready to compete. "It's very much like martial arts," said Barron. "The kids need to learn the skills and techniques of boxing before they begin competing."

Generally, the Wasco SAL program provides afterschool activities for boys and girls by coordinating functions, such as community service, local clean-ups, boxin and running 5Ks, as well as coordinating special day trips for the kids.

When Wasco SAL kids got interested in boxing, Maldonado noticed that several of the kids didn't have proper shoes for running and staying fit. He contacted Bishop, and she passed along the need to the employees. Several of the athletes received their new Nike shoes this week, and more will get them next week.

Assisting with organizing events is Traci Mills Clendenen. Also helping with weightlifting, and future barbecuing/cooking and fundraising is Manuel Orozco. Beginning in February, Orquidea Ocampo will be running a tutoring program for the kids, Maldonado said.

"We are currently accepting applications for new SAL members, ages 12 to 17 or 18 if still in high school," said Maldonado. "We can always use more adult volunteers over the age of 25 years old to help out."

Volunteers need to complete a background check. Interested volunteers can contact Deputy Maldonado at 661-758-7266.


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