Students improve reading ability in Boys & Girls Club program

Student members of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme Squires Housing satellite have reason to celebrate this month as test results show reading fluency improved by 113 percent over the summer.

Youth aged 6 to 18 years old participated in the Summer Learning Academy made possible through funding by local philanthropist Bill Wilson through the Ventura County Community Foundation.
The Squires Housing unit, in partnership with the City of Oxnard’s Housing Authority, housed up to six youth members before the Summer Learning Academy opened in the summer. The number has since doubled thanks to Wilson’s contribution.

“Mr. Wilson’s generous support enabled us to establish the Academy, double the number of youth served and extend after-school hours Monday-Friday from 2-6 p.m.,” said Erin Antrim, CEO.

The Academy also served 40 club members over the course of the summer, offering programs such as Hardy Brain Wordquest, which involves a series of tests to determine reading level and fluency via interactive games and quizzes. As the program completed, the students took the Test of Silent Word Reading Fluency, which measures reading achievements. Testing showed students made a 113 percent improvement in reading since the program began.

““These youth live in a high-need area, surrounded by poverty and gangs,” said Antrim. “To be able to provide programs that kept them engaged and learning over the summer was an incredible opportunity.”

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Holiday food, donation drives kick off around county

‘Tis the season to be giving, and many an opportunity has arrived for such.

The Visit Conejo Valley Holiday Food Bank Drive, the second annual iteration, launched on Thursday, Nov. 1, and will continue through Tuesday, Nov. 20. Visitors and locals are asked to donate nonperishable food items such as canned vegetables, stews, beans and chilies as well as dry pastas and boxed items. Donations will be given to the Manna Conejo Valley Food Bank to assist those in need.

Donation bins can be found at 14 hotels around Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills, including the Courtyard Marriott and Best Western Plus in Thousand Oaks and Hyatt Regency in Westlake Village. For more information and more drop-off locations, call

On Monday, Nov. 12, Operation Christmas Child 2018 begins. The international charity drive launched by Samaritan’s Purse International Relief asks participants to donate items to be collected in “shoebox gifts,” which will include toys, school supplies and hygiene items.

Organizers of the local Ventura Operation Christmas Child hope to collect more than 11,950 gifts to donate toward the ultimate goal of reaching 11 million children worldwide.

For more information and a drop-off location locator tool, visit

Oxnard publishes new visitor’s guide

Fear not, wary traveler: Oxnard has a brand new visitor’s guide to aid you on your way.

The Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau has released a new Oxnard Visitor’s Guide for both visitors and residents in order to promote the many and varied attractions on offer in the city. The glossy magazine highlights Oxnard’s beaches, the Channel Islands Harbor, historic downtown and The Collection at RiverPark.

Inside, readers can also find an extensive guide to Channel Islands National Park, featuring interviews with park rangers and info on the best time to travel and how to prepare for a visit.

“We wanted to take the opportunity to highlight all the amazing activities and culture in Oxnard,” said Julie Mino, president and CEO of the Bureau. “We hope everyone will find something new or exciting they want to check out from reading the guide.”

Destination Creative Group published the guide, which can be found at 444 locations throughout California and is available online at