Category Archives: Youth

Lake Casitas Rowing Light attends Regional Championships

Lake Casitas Rowing Light attended the Regional Championships May 4-6th to secure an invite to the Nationals Championships . The men’s varsity boat got bronze medals bringing them one step closer to an attempt at a National title. Over 2000 athletes competed in this 3-day regional event from almost 40 different teams from all over California, Nevada, Arizona Utah and Hawaii. Joe Wells and Alex Legaspi, both seniors, have been training all year with one goal in mind, to make it to Nationals to represent their team and they succeeded! Alex is graduating from Ventura High School and Joe goes to Excellence in Education Academy (Private School).With their placement over the weekend they will be racing against the best in the Nation in a 2000 meter regatta on Lake Natoma June 8-10th.

For more information contact Wendy Gillett 258.8622 or

Summer Nutrition is available for all community children

Each summer, Ventura Unified School District provides a nutrition program. This program provides lunch at no charge to children 1-18 years of age. Summer Nutrition is not based on income qualification. It is available for all community children regardless of their school year qualification for free and reduced price meals. Lunch will be served June 18th through August 3rd.

Ventura Unified School District is committed to providing nutritious foods during the summer months so that students may return to school healthy, energized and ready to learn!

Participating sites include the following:

Lunch served: 10:45am – 12:00pm

  • DATA Middle School
  • Anacapa Middle School
  • ATLAS Elementary School
  • E.P. Foster Elementary School
  • Montalvo Elementary School
  • Portola Elementary School

Lunch served: 10:30am – 12:00pm

  • Pacific High School
  • Ventura High School

Lunch served: 11:00amm – 1:00pm

  • YMCA

Lunch served: 11:30am – 1:00pm

  • Buena Vida Apartments
  • Encanto Del Mar Apartments

Lunch served: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

  • Westpark Community Center

Rotary Club Of Ventura South holds First Annual Speech Contest for Ventura high schools

The senior winners are Jonathon Saldana, Alaina Hooks and Aspen Levitt.

The Rotary Club of Ventura South conducted its first annual speech contest for Ventura high school students with the finals held on Thursday, May 17, at the Tower Club in Oxnard. At the event, the Club awarded more than $4,000 in scholarships for first place, second place, and honorable mention to students from Buena, Foothill, and Ventura High Schools. First Bank in Ventura contributed $2,000 to the project.

Bob Davis, 2017-18 President of Rotary Ventura South, commented, “We’re excited to sponsor this first annual event as a means of supporting education in our community and encouraging students to develop their public speaking skills. We look forward to welcoming even more contestants in the coming years.”

Invitations to participate went out to all Ventura High Schools in March, and the initial round of competition was conducted on campus for students at the responding schools. The entrants were asked to prepare a four-minute speech on the American civil rights movement of the 1950s-60s.

The presentations were judged by panels of Rotary Ventura South club members using delivery, content, and their own discretion as criteria. They were John Weiss, Rosanna Colin, Bob Braitman, Mary Davis and Dante Honorico.

The winners are:

  • Kaitlyn Saldana – Freshman, Buena High School. First Place (Freshmen) – $1,500.
  • Angela Tang – Freshman, Buena High School. Second Place (Freshmen) – $750.
  • Joshua Cenzano – Sophomore, Buena High School. First Place (Sophomores) – $1,500.
  • Alaina Hooks – Senior, Foothill Technology High School. First Place (Seniors) – $1,500.
  • Aspen Levitt – Senior, Ventura High School. Second Place (Seniors) – $750.
  • Jonathon Saldana – Senior, Buena High School. Third Place (Seniors) – $300.

The Rotary Club of Ventura South is one of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs with 1.2 million members around the world. The clubs work together to promote peace; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; save mothers and children; support education; and grow local economies. Rotary Ventura South meets at noon every Monday at the Tower Club in Oxnard. Visitors are always welcome. For more information, visit

Students will present their Environmental Business Plans and will receive awards

On Thursday, May 31, over forty 5th-12th-grade students from six public schools in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties will be presenting their authored environmental business proposals to a judging panel. Students’ proposals focus on water conservation, energy efficiency, or waste reduction of their school campuses, or educate a community about ocean acidification. The event will take place at the Museum of Ventura County from 4 -7 pm.

In the first hour and a half, the 40 finalists will present to a panel of judges who will rank the project proposals based on merit and cost effectiveness. Then at 5:30 pm, the MERITO Foundation in partnership with NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary will award cash or in kind prizes to the young authors of top environmental business proposals.

Energy Efficiency to Mitigate Climate Change and Ocean Acidification “EECCOA” is a project-based science education program of the MERITO Foundation that provides energy, climate and ocean literacy services and products to 8th – 12th grade teachers and their students aligned to Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS1) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS2).

The EECCOA Awards Event is the culmination of the 9 month-long EECCCOA Program. The following schools will have students present or display their project proposals:

The Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans (MERITO) Foundation is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization based in Ventura dedicated to protecting the ocean by facilitating education, conservation and scientific research opportunities to multicultural youth and their communities. The EECCOA Challenge empowers students to be environmental entrepreneurs by providing them through their teachers, with the tools to understand climate change, ocean acidification, drought and wildfires and address these issues with money saving project proposals for their school campuses. Students are also given the option to develop awareness campaigns that inform and involve their communities.

The EECCCOA Program and EECCOA Awards Event sponsors include: NOAA B-WET Grant, Sea Forward Fund, Ventura Water, Arcturus Manufacturing Corp (through a settlement agreement filed by Wishtoyo Foundation), Island Packers and Montecito Bank and Trust.

Reaching future Ventura Breeze readers

Ventura Police Commander Rick Murray reading to kids at the Take 5 event at police headquarters. Photo by Michael Gordon

Take 5 and Read to Kids! is an annual effort by First 5 Ventura County to raise awareness about the importance of early childhood literacy.

On Friday, May 4, more than 55 celebrity readers read to young children throughout Ventura County to kick off the Take 5 and Read to Kids campaign! This year the Ventura Police Department hosted the effort at Police/Fire Headquarters. Police Officers and Firefighters took time to read and share important safety tips with local families.

· Take 5 encourages parents and caregivers to talk, read, and sing with young children ages 1-5 to support their early language and literacy development.

· Reading aloud, telling stories, and even singing builds pathways in the brain that will later be used to learn letters, read, and to think critically.

· Being introduced to books in the home and reading to a child before they enter school has been shown to be the strongest predictor of school success, especially for students at the greatest risk of falling behind.

That’s what Take 5 is about – take 5 minutes today for a child’s future.

A tour of the facility was also given.

The impressive lineup of readers in Ventura County to promote the importance of reading early to young children included Congresswoman Julia Brownley, Assembly member Dante Acosta, Supervisor Kelly Long, County Executive Officer Mike Powers, Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen, Sheriff Geoff Dean, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stan Mantooth, CSUCI President Erika Beck and many more.

“For young children, early exposure to books – including being read aloud to each day – is critical for long-term academic success,” said First 5 Ventura County Executive Director Petra Puls. “And yet, in Ventura County, only 58% of children are read to daily.”

Help Cabrillo Middle School stay the best in engineering and music

The Rusty Sailors have invented a Microfiber Filter.

FIRST® LEGO® League has announced 20 semi-finalist teams that have advanced to the Eighth Annual FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award. The Rusty Sailors Robotics Team, from Ventura’s Cabrillo Middle School was selected from entries from more than 20 countries and all 50 states

for their outstanding project innovative solution that demonstrated originality while having the potential to add significant value in the world.

The Cabrillo Middle School Rusty Sailors have invented a Microfiber Filter for washing machines for the HYDRODYNAMICS℠ season, which focused on improving the water cycle and keeping microfibers out of the ocean’s waters and sea life. They collaborated with local scientists as well as developers at Patagonia to ensure their product would be a viable and responsible invention. This is the first time that a Ventura or Los Angeles regional team has advanced this far. The team will travel to San Jose June 19-21 to present their innovation to expert judges at San Jose State University, which culminates in the awarding of the top prize of $20,000 to continue work on their inventions; two runners-up will take home $5,000 each.

The Rusty Sailors have also been invited to participate in the FIRST LEGO League Razorback Invitational, at the University of Arkansas on May 16-20. The team will compete with their robot against 71 other teams from around the globe.

Coached by JD Sessa, the team is currently fundraising and looking for additional sponsors to assist them with travel, hotel and project/robot costs related to both of these events. Individuals can donate on their GoFundMe page at and companies who wish to sponsor can reach out to fundraising committee member and team parent, Marieanne Quiroz at

FIRST LEGO League is an international program for 9 to 16-year-old children created in a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology – and teach them valuable career and life skills. Children work alongside adult Mentors to design, build, and program autonomous robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® and create an innovative solution to a real-world problem as part of their research project.

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. To learn more about FIRST, go to

Jazz is alive and well at Cabrillo Middle School. Help support music at Cabrillo Middle School by attending the annual Jazz Benefit Concert on May 19, from 5:30-7:30 at Boccali’s Restaurant in Ojai. Tickets are $29 and include all you can buffet dinner and non-alcoholic beverages while sitting outside under the oaks listening to live jazz music from Cabrillo Middle School Students and a special performance by Lito Hernandez Fotet.

There is also a wine raffle and silent auction for many interesting items. All proceeds benefit the music program which pays for instrument repair, music tutors, sheet music, field trips, and more. Purchase tickets now at or at the door.

Lifeguard and water safety classes at the YMCA

Looking for a summer job? Check out the Lifeguard and Swim Instructor Certification Courses at the Ventura Family YMCA. Each course will equip you with the tools you need to get a job in Aquatics. Must Register by May 19. Both courses require Pre-requisites. Lifeguarding course includes CPR, First Aid & Oxygen training. Swim instructor Course requires CPR, First Aid, and Oxygen Training.

Dates and times for Lifeguard Course:
June 8, 4 – 8pm
June 9, 9am – 6pm
June 10, 9am – 6pm
June 15, 9am – 12pm

Dates and times for Swim Instructor Course:
June 15, 2 – 6pm
June 16, 9am – 6pm
June 18, 1 – 5pm

Cost: $160 per course

Water Safety Workshop. Learn about swim and aquatic safety
Come and learn about water safety with Vanessa Tooch, Ventura Family YMCA’s Program Director. With an extensive background in swim and aquatic safety, she will provide helpful information regarding water safety, benefits of swim lessons, building blocks of swim lessons, and learning expectations/appropriate age progression rates. Please register for the workshop at the Ventura Family YMCA or call. Walk-ins are welcome.
May 15, 6 – 7pm. Free

Ventura Family YMCA, 3760 Telegraph Road

Contact Vanessa Tooch, 642.2131 x1 or

A Night to Remember: A prom for students with special needs

Mission Church is set to sponsor the seventh annual A Night to Remember, a free prom for students with special needs, to be held at the Ventura County Fairgrounds Friday, May 18th beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“There is nothing quite like this night and experience for both our guests and volunteers. It’s like a picture of heaven on earth,” explained Mike Hickerson, Lead Pastor at Mission Church. “When everyone is out on the dance floor together, we all recognize that we’re not that much different from each other, and it just feels like something is right in the world.”

The night includes dresses and tuxedos, hairstyling, makeup and corsages or boutonnieres, limo rides and a walk down a red carpet cheered on by paparazzi. Each guest is accompanied by a student host from the community, given a formal photo, special desserts and treats and a night of dancing with a professional DJ.

“This event is not just a special night, but a night that has impacts our community all year long; we have watched our guests make friends with other students in their high schools and continue those friendships for years to come,” said Jen Oakes, NTR’s Event Director.

Over 400 guests and 2,000 volunteers are expected to celebrate together on this special night that will truly be A Night to Remember.

Mission Church, 2875 Elba St. |

For more information or 626.8850.

Diversity and promise at Ventura College

The festival provided ample opportunities to highlight various cultural backgrounds.

Ventura College held the 3rd Annual Diversity in Culture Festival on Wednesday and Thursday, April 11&12. The Diversity in Culture Festival is a free, two-day public event that has been designated by the Ventura College Executive Team as, “Alternative Education Days.” The festival featured a variety of educational opportunities including guest speakers, panel discussions, visual and performing arts, student organizations, food, and a market place. This year’s theme, “Breaking Silence”.

The festival provides ample opportunities to highlight various cultural backgrounds, practices, and topics reflected in the campus and the local community. Annual highlights of the event include a native Chumash ritual; local Danza Aztec groups; and a panel of community religious leaders.

Festival organizer Gigi Fiumerodo states, “Diversity is often defined in many ways. The goal of the festival is to provide opportunities for our students and community to experience all it can be and hopefully learn more about our world and each other. Usually the discovery lies in that we are all more similar than we are different. Additionally, we hope the festival provides an opportunity for gathering, connectivity, and healing for our community.”