Place to Go, A Place to Grow: Simple Things That Make a Difference for At-Risk Kids

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The inspirational story of the man who, as founder of the Challengers Boys and Girls Club, has been a father figure to over 30,000 young people.

"If it wasn't for Challengers, where would these kids be?" - Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Lou Dantzler founded Challengers in his besieged neighborhood in the wake of the 1960s Watts riots. What started out as a circle of 12 boys meeting under a maple tree has grown into a ...

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Overview

The inspirational story of the man who, as founder of the Challengers Boys and Girls Club, has been a father figure to over 30,000 young people.

"If it wasn't for Challengers, where would these kids be?" - Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Lou Dantzler founded Challengers in his besieged neighborhood in the wake of the 1960s Watts riots. What started out as a circle of 12 boys meeting under a maple tree has grown into a $6 million facility that has served 32,000 boys and girls to date, creating productive citizens out of potential juvenile delinquents.

A South Carolina transplant to South Central LA who was once victimized by racial violence, Dantzler was determined to break the cycle of hatred and bigotry. In A Place to Go, A Place to Grow, he shares his philosophy of caring and the secrets of his success working with at-risk kids.

The list of people who recognize Dantzler's talent for getting these disadvantaged young people to reach their full potential reads like a Who's Who of notables. President George H.W. Bush has said that Challengers' existence "proves the power of our better selves." Denzel Washington calls the club "an oasis" and says Dantzler epitomizes "what a role model is."

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Lou Dantzler's Challengers could not have started less auspiciously: Twelve inner-city boys meeting under a maple tree in the wake of the L.A. Watts riots. That fateful 1968 South Central gathering was beginning of an organization that has served 32,000 boys and girls to date, creating citizens out of potential juvenile delinquents and gang-bangers. A Place to Go, A Place to Grow is more than an inspirational history of a dynamic community group; it is a road map for keeping at-risk kids out of harm's way.
Publishers Weekly
In the wake of the 1960s Watts riots in South Central LA, Dantzler made it his mission to create a club where neighborhood children could go to safely learn and play. Through hard work, perseverance and an unwavering faith in doing the right thing, Dantzler turned that dream into a $6 million facility, opening the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in 1968. Since then, it has served over 30,000 children and enjoyed the largesse of many African-American celebrities, becoming a model for similar programs across the country. The son of a South Carolina sharecropper, Dentzler s personal story is every bit as compelling as the stories of children he s met and helped, though he indulges in a few too many just a sharecropper s son demurrals. Later chapters about securing financing for the center aren t as interesting, but Dantzler s important work is a moving success story of the philanthropy business. 8 pages of b&w photos. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The streets of South Central Los Angeles form the backdrop for this inspiring and motivational story, which recounts the history of the Challengers Boys & Girls Club, founded in 1968 by Dantzler, a South Carolina sharecropper's son. A charismatic leader, Dantzler emphasizes hands-on management and reveals a simple yet powerful philosophy that guides his work with children. He discusses his savvy development of business relationships with entertainers, sports figures, and private-sector entrepreneurs who helped fund the project, and his descriptions of colorful characters and gritty details about gang life enliven the text. Though he name-drops more than he cites statistics and studies reflecting the club's impact on the community, the Challengers' growth into a $6 million venture that has served more than 30,000 at-risk youth is undeniably impressive. Part memoir, part community organizer's manual, this book is recommended for applied social science collections and Los Angeles-area public libraries. [Dantzler served on the National Commission of American Urban Families under former President George H.W. Bush.-Ed]-Antoinette Brinkman, formerly with the Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville, IN Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594864186
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/2/2006
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.19 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

LOU DANTZLER formed the Challengers Club in 1968 and today remains its president and CEO. During George H.W. Bush's term, he served on the National Commission of American Urban Families, a special commission formed to examine the decline of inner cities.

KATHLEEN FELESINA is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword x
Acknowledgments xiv
Chapter 1 The South Central Stare 1
Chapter 2 Twice as Much Love 12
Chapter 3 He Taught Us to Be Men 28
Chapter 4 Picturing It 40
Chapter 5 When Chickens Had Nothing But Backs and Feet 51
Chapter 6 Taking the First Step 68
Chapter 7 Cracking the Shell 80
Chapter 8 A Helping Hand 92
Chapter 9 Making It Our Own 103
Chapter 10 Can't Run Sitting Down 115
Chapter 11 Leading the Charge for Change 138
Chapter 12 Aiming Higher 156
Chapter 13 Reaching Out with Hoops and Hope 164
Chapter 14 Having Choices, Making Choices 175
Chapter 15 Envisioning What Could Be 189
Chapter 16 One Point of Light 207
Chapter 17 Men in Charge 222
Chapter 18 Never Give Up 236
Chapter 19 Native Sons 249
Epilogue 256
Bibliography 264
Index 265
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2006

    A Story of Hope and Inspiration

    Once started, I couldn't put 'A Place to Go, A Place to Grow' down. In a simple but powerful form, this book tells a story of hope for our young people and inspiration from a man who is changing this world, one child and one relationship at a time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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