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Boys & Girls Club celebrates its alumni

Posted: April 16, 2008 12:18 a.m.
Updated: June 17, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Frank Giardina (left), first Boy of the Year at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, joins Jim Ventress (middle), the Club's chief professional officer, and alumnus Ronnie Mimran at the Club's third annual Alumni Night. Giardina has been called a "trainer to the stars" while Mimran works as a neurosurgeon in Northern California.

"When I felt like I wanted to quit, I kept persevering."

"The staff was a big inspiration."

"I met my best friends there."

Those were just a few of the sentiments expressed at the third annual Alumni Night at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley on April 4, when more than 80 alumni of the local club, plus two clubs outside the area reunited to network, reminisce and share stories and laughter.

Jim Ventress, chief professional officer, welcomed familiar faces and talked about the club's importance.

"The club was a second home for a lot of us. I know the club I went to in Los Angeles was very important to me. I still have friends from there," said Ventress.

Gary Condie, a longtime Boys & Girls Club board member, feels like a part of the family and has been a faithful attendee of the Alumni Nights. He told about holding a former student's six-month-old baby and talked about how he helped raise the money for the building in Newhall.

Frank Giardina was one such example. He joined the club when he was 13 years old and was named the first Boy of the Year (nowadays, it is Youth of the Year). When he was 18, he started working for the club as a counselor. Giardina went on to earn a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified professional trainer. He's even been called a "trainer to the stars" by TV's Inside Edition, and he gave credit to his success to the Boys & Girls Club.

Giardina continues giving back to the club that gave him so much. He and his mother were two of the main people who started the annual auction, which takes place in June and has become a well-known social and charitable event in the community. He also speaks regularly at club events and has taken club participants on outings.

Ronnie Mimran also worked for the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley after being a member for about six years. He said it was a place his mom knew he was safe and somewhere he could socialize and be part of the gang.

At age 11, Mimran participated in a publicity campaign for the Club - "The Club that Beats the Streets" - with Telly Savalas. He now serves as a neurosurgeon in Northern California. His practice focuses on surgical and non-surgical treatment of brain and spinal disorders, with an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques for the spine.


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