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Young professionals mentor young minds

By Carolina Astrain
June 28, 2014 at 1:28 a.m.

Arissa Polasik, right, and Kelsey Akin, left, watches volunteer mentors from the Victoria Generals baseball team and Invsita cut the cake at the 46th anniversary of the Boys and Girls Club of Victoria.

John Elson and Bianca Garcia held lighters above birthday candles in celebration of the Boys and Girls Club of Victoria's 46th anniversary.

Elson, 21, plays for the Victoria Generals as a shortstop on second base. Garcia, 25, works at Invista as an operating engineer.

The two were at the nonprofit organization for a daylong partnership between organizations involved in mentoring students as part of the center's summer camp.

That same evening, Invista sponsored a free game night for the Victoria Generals game at Riverside Baseball Stadium.

A white tablecloth was spread across a pool table.

"It's the biggest table we have," joked Boys and Girls Club Director Marc Hinojosa.

Once the cloth was spread, the cake was cut, and the students played a few rounds of dodgeball in the center's gym.

"My dad was my strongest mentor," Elson, of New Jersey, said. "This has been a great opportunity for us to give back as a team to the community."

Garcia, of Harlingen, said it was nice to have two organizations come together to benefit one in need.

"My twin sisters are my greatest mentors," Garcia said. "They taught me to be sure and always do my best and to be persistent no matter what."

Garcia was sitting on the gym rafters as she watched the baseball players and students throw dodgeballs at on another.

Zadie Williams, 13, looked on as well.

Zadie, a Patti Welder Middle School student, has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Victoria since she was 5 years old.

"It's good to have different people here today," Zadie said. "We don't want to be with the same people every day."

Zadie describes herself as an athletic type.

"I like to move around a lot," Zadie said. "This has been perfect because baseball is my favorite sport."



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