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South Bay : PROGRAM EXPANSION

A popular after-school program housed in downtown San Pedro’s First United Methodist Church has received a $20,000 grant from an anonymous South Bay charitable organization. The contribution allows the center to expand its operations from two to five days a week.

“A Place for Us” is managed by 20 volunteers from the Beacon House Assn., an alcoholic residential recovery center for men. They provide food and supervise activities such as basketball, drama, tutoring and painting for about 35 children from the Vinegar Hill neighborhood. Founded in 1992, the project is a joint effort by the church, which donates the space, and Beacon House, which supplies the manpower. Mary Proper, executive director of Beacon House, says “A Place for Us” not only provides working parents with free after-school care, it also makes the men feel they have a purpose.

“Many men identify with the children’s loneliness,” Proper said. “It really takes the men back to when they were kids and they had no one to talk to.”

Proper says the center also will use the funds to create “A Place for Us” T-shirts with a logo designed by the children for the holidays.

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