Monday, December 22, 2008

Rikke Van Johnson President of Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino

Rikke Van Johnson, president of the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino, looks at a mural created by teenagers who attended a program sponsored by The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. The Boys & Girls Club recently installed this mural on a wall in one of its meeting rooms.

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) - Rikke Van Johnson is the new president of the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino Board of Directors.

Johnson, a 44-year-resident of San Bernardino, has served on the Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors since 2000. He is also a San Bernardino City Council member, representing the Sixth Ward.

Long before then, as a teen growing up in San Bernardino, he was a member of the Boys & Girls’ Club of San Bernardino, where he swam and received guidance from the adult role models there.

“I had great supervisors when I attended the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino as a teenager,” he said. This is my way of giving back for all the good this club has provided for me.”

Johnson said he learned leadership skills in the Boys & Girls Club that helped him during his 27-year career with the United States Postal Service, in his current job as the manager of Greenwood Bail Bonds and as he leads both the Boys & Girls Club and the city.

As the new board president, Johnson will guide the board through its top priority for 2009, which is to raise $100,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino. This will help the program provide more services to the area’s children through its programs such as Torch Club, a leadership program for preteens and Triple Play, a program that emphasizes health and fitness for children.

It will also assist the Boys & Girls Club in renovating its kitchen, which is more than 40 years old and hasn’t been used for several years. After the renovation, the Boys & Girls Club will serve meals, teach children to cook and promote healthy eating as advocated in the Triple Play program.

To assist in its fund-raising venture, the Board of Directors hopes to expand its own membership. The board now has 11 members, but it’s open to community leaders with the passion and tenacity to serve.

“We want people who will be able to bring in resources to meet the needs of the boys and girls who are our members,” Van Johnson said. “Many of them are at-risk children, and we want the Boys & Girls Club to be everything it can to help them become successful young adults.”

Van Johnson said he also hopes to recruit people to a new advisory board for a Boys & Girls Club. These are people such as elected officials and company executives, who would not have time to volunteer as a governing board member, but who are well-connected to other people in the community and could assist the governing board in that way.

Rikke Van Johnson is the elected City Council representative to the Sixth Ward of San Bernardino where he has lived for most of his life. He is the manager of Greenwood Bail Bonds, and volunteers with several groups including the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino and Westside Action Group. He is married to Sharon, and has three children and one grandchild.

The Boys & Girls’ Club of San Bernardino operates clubs in the Westside and Delmann Heights neighborhoods of San Bernardino and in Rialto. It has more than 1,500 members, children and teens who are building character, developing leadership skills, building strong, healthy bodies and preparing for a successful future through the programs the Boys & Girls Club offers.