Phil Waterford gave away another car.
No, it wasn’t the one from the Memorial Day drawing or any for the upcoming events.
As the honored guest of the FUN Club Center – that’s the free summer program offered to those ages 6 through 17 at Southside Christian Church founded some five years ago by the Rev. Quincyetta McClain – Waterford donated a brand new radio-controlled Ford Mustangs at Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Troy Woodard, one of the FUN Club youngsters, was the recipient of Waterford’s generosity.
The owner of Manteca Ford and Exotic Line shared a message passed on to him from his father to youngsters attending the kick-off event: Do the right thing – make the right choices.
“Think WIN, which stands for ‘What’s Important Now.’ Let that be the focus,” said Waterford, who also delivered a pair of proclamations supporting the FUN Club from state Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Councilman Steve DeBrum, on behalf of the City of Manteca, also came through with a proclamation.
“This is an important program to me,” DeBrum said.
DeBrum looked forward to attending the first of 13 FUN Club programs to the point that he juggled his busy schedule just to be there.
The FUN Club – an acronym for Friday Unity Night in the Neighborhood – has lined up a variety of guest speakers during the summer, including Diana Hallare of the American Diabetes Association (June 29), Mothers Against Drunk Driving advocate Frank Kegel (July 27), Heart Walk director Lisa Richmond of the American Heart of Association (Aug. 3), to name a few.
Each month has a theme, with June being ‘Health Education and Awareness’ month. “You are what you eat and drink,” said McClain, echoing the theme for June.
July is ‘Empowerment’ month. The theme is “Say No to Gangs, Drugs, Crime, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Bullying.”
August is ‘Back to School’ month. The theme here is “Be Cool Stay in School – You must be a high school graduate.”
Rogelio Ramos is one of the returning FUN Club helpers. He’s also a recent graduate of East Union High with plans of going to Delta College in the fall to study mechanics or business.
“This is work experience but it’s also fun (helping out),” Ramos said.
He helps out with the indoor and outdoor activities offered at the FUN Club, which, according to McClain, educates youngsters on obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
She’s called Manteca her home for the past 30 years and can remember trying to find summer activities for her children during their younger years.
Out of this came the idea of the FUN Club. “Our goal is to provide a great summer for you,” McClain said to youngsters attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony.