Weaving dreams for youth

Two members of the Boys and Girls Club act out their scene in the Dream Weaver's performance on Sunday.

Dream Weaver’s event informs community about the Malibu Foundation for Youth and Families, which provides local youth with programs and activities. An anonymous donor offers $150,000 in matching funds.

By Jonathan Friedman/Staff Writer

The Malibu Foundation for Youth and Families entertained and informed current and potential donors about its ongoing programs at its Dream Weavers reception Sunday.

The organization opened the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu Teen Center in 2000, and offers local young people a variety of programs for fun and life skills development.

The foundation was formed in 1999 shortly after the Columbine High School shooting to address the issues it raised, including teen violence and isolation. Funds were then raised to build the Teen Center, which is located behind Malibu High School on Morning View Drive.

When the center opened, the Boys and Girls Club membership was at 30. That amount has risen to about 600. Elie Knickerbocker, a member since the center’s inception and now a graduating senior, said at Sunday’s event that the center had saved his life.

“I love my parents, but they haven’t always been there to talk to or to hang out with,” he said. “The club has always given me something to do and a place to be.”

Knickerbocker said many Malibu teens make bad choices, falling victim to the temptation of alcohol and drugs. He said the Teen Center gave him an option to avoid that lifestyle.

“I know a handful of girls in my grade that habitually use cocaine,” said Knickerbocker, adding that the Teen Center is one of the few places in Malibu not targeted for drug dealing. “I once saw a seventh-grader who was so drunk, he kept walking into a glass window until somebody set him down.”

Foundation Board Member Kate Ross said the club already offers drug prevention with the SMART Moves program, which trains older teens to mentor younger ones about substance abuse and sexual activity. Ross said the foundation was looking to expand that to support those who already are using drugs and alcohol. She said the foundation had applied for a grant to go toward paying for an intervention, prevention and rehabilitation program

“Intervention and support services for youth who have already lost their way is of critical importance,” Ross said.

Also at the event, actor Daniel Stern and Boys and Girls Club members entertained the crowd with a performance presentation on the Teen Center’s many activities. They include intramural athletics, leadership programs and programs that help kids deal with life’s challenges. Club member Crystal Taylor also amazed the crowd with her vocal talent, singing Etta James’ “At Last.”

Daniel Stern’s wife, Laure, who is the foundation’s president, said an anonymous donor offered to give $150,000 in matching funds if it is able to raise that amount through donors and community gifts. She said the foundation already received $50,000 in community gift money, and hoped they could raise the additional $100,000 through donations.

Those interested in donating to the foundation can obtain information by calling 589.8363 or by sending an e-mail to malibuyouth@earthlink.net.