Sat08302014

Schools

SLOBs: New boys' group gives back


Courtesy of Aloma Avery
Members of the Mountain View-Los Altos Service League of Boys (SLOBs) are hard at work in the community. The SLOBs, boys in seventh to 12th grades, paint a fence, left.

Boys are SLOBs.

But the SLOBs of the Mountain View-Los Altos Service League of Boys (MVLA SLOBs) have helped serve meals to the needy, picked fruit, weeded gardens, painted fences and much more.

Founded in 2013, the mission of the MVLA SLOBs is to initiate and promote educational and charitable endeavors that foster community responsibility and strengthen the parent-son relationship. Membership is open to boys in seventh to 12th grades, and the MVLA SLOBs is already 36 members strong, with members representing many public and private middle and high schools located in Los Altos and Mountain View.

In its first year of existence, MVLA SLOBs has volunteered more than 600 hours for wide-ranging local charities and philanthropies such as Rebuilding Together, which rehabilitates homes and community facilities for low-income homeowners and neighbors; Hope’s Corner, which provides meals to local individuals in need; Challenger League Baseball, which offers boys and girls with physical challenges the opportunity to experience the emotional development and fun of playing baseball; and InnVision Shelter Network, whose goal is to help homeless families and individuals return to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

“We wanted to provide a way for our sons to give back to the community, help people not as fortunate as themselves and at the same time provide an opportunity for parents and sons to connect and have a meaningful shared experience,“ said Elizabeth McDermott, co-founder and vice president of membership.

It’s not easy being a SLOB. Parents and sons jointly hold MVLA SLOBs board positions, and the boys take an active role in all aspects of the organization, from managing volunteer opportunities to scheduling and conducting meetings, reporting on services provided and designing the group’s T-shirts. Members are required to volunteer a set number of hours per year and attend a designated number of meetings.

But boys are happy to be SLOBs. Weeding gardens and painting fences isn’t such hard work when you’re doing it with your friends. And discovering people in need within or near the community is eye opening for most SLOBs.

“One of the best things about SLOBs is you get to interact with kids just like you who need a little help,” said Trevor Case, sophomore at St. Francis High School. “It’s fun to support your community with family and friends.”

Unlike other service organizations, MVLA SLOBs allows either parent to volunteer along with his or her son.

“SLOBs has been a great catalyst for us to give back together,” said Cindy Fitz, co-founder and president. “My husband and two sons had a fun and rewarding experience painting classrooms in an elementary school with Rebuilding Together. My oldest son and I had meaningful conversations while we spruced up bicycles to give to kids in need, and Village Harvest gave us a chance to have a family outing picking fruit to be donated to food pantries. I’m not sure that we would have sought out these opportunities on our own.”

Being an MVLA SLOB is extremely rewarding. From a high school baseball player sharing his love of the game with a physically challenged child to people’s gratitude for a simple meal and the satisfaction after a hard day of manual labor, MVLA SLOBs has worked hard and accomplished much.

Yes, it’s good to be a SLOB. At least it’s good to be an MVLA SLOB.

For more information, visit mvlaslobs.org.

Aloma Avery’s two sons are active in SLOBs and she serves as the club’s publicity chair.

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