On the corner of Vermont and 50th exists an oasis for kids that tries to keep them straight instead of getting into problems.
They service so many 100's of kids daily, hear Magic Johnson speak on it, "If it weren't for the Challengers, where would these kids be?"
Me, E-Woods, I taught around the corner at 36th and Vermont in ‘96 and came back to mentor in ‘06.
Corey Dantzler is this former dope baller from Cal Poly Pomona, a great man who leads The Challengers Club. He says, "This is where young minds grow, solid habits take root, a sense of self determination is manifested in our kids hearts."
Corey, like his esteemed father Lou Dantzler who founded the club, keeps the staff motivated. Drop the mic time.
Deric Daniels is Corey's right hand man, my dude used to run dudes in hoops at the Drew League coming out of University of Pacific.
My point? All these good men have dedicated their entire lives to getting kids to love sports, participate in SAT prep classes, just help kids unlock their human potential. #that's beyond dope
Man, I'd trust my own daughter Giselle at The Club, because dope reps dope at this oasis of shelter in a community that has a lot of risks on the surrounding streets.
The Club is like the timeless Bill Withers’ song Lean on Me:
"Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need Somebody to lean on."
Yup, real talk. Club is like fam to all. Kids shuffle in this well kept facility daily, they are warmly greeted at the door, fed with care, offered classes on a variety of activities to help them.
To me, these beautiful children of God are like little growing roses, like Tupac says in his poem, all these are kids rising through the cracks, peeking through the concrete to be that "special somebody" who makes it, who will contribute to society.
I can't think of a place more caring than this. #South LA Love
Every time I visit there, it brings back memories of truly special people. Like Corey's beloved brother Mark Dantzler who brightened everyone's day at the club for years. He has passed on but his spirit of giving lives on in the hearts of all the employees at the club, all the workers there.
The workers are like my brothers and sisters, everyone who helps kids there is as much of a teacher as I am because they're helping kids.
Youngsters get a mind full of wisdom, heart full of love, and have aspirations as high as the clouds...real talk. The club needs to recognized as the west coast's biggest and most comprehensive Boys and Girls Club, period.
Nike published a study about 25 years ago that said if middle school girls aren't involved in sports or structured activities, they are 50% more likely to drop out of high school or be that teenage mother.
Well, The Challengers Club is that structure, an oasis in South LA, a place to be loved, mentored, to learn how to be a mentor to the next generation.
What is more valuable than that, yet unfortunately the true heroes, they're celebrated so rarely.
But I see y'all at 50th and Vermont. I'm down with your spirit, we are one, because I am The Club, they are me. They help our children, they help set young minds free.