New Skid Row Program Gives Kids a Chance to Play
by Ryan Vaillancourt
Downtown LA News
The Huntington, at 752 S. Main St., is home to about 240 low-income residents, including approximately 20 families. When Manning, the hotel manager, first thought of bringing new activities to the children in the neighborhood, he turned to Skid Row activist Ron Crockett.
Crockett, whose penchant for teaching sports to area youth brought on the nickname Coach Ron, lives blocks away from the Huntington in another South Main Street hotel. He too had been eager to do something positive for the youth in the community, he said.
After consulting with Manning, Crockett went to County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who then linked the hotel with the toy loan program, Blachman-Benitez said.
At the Huntington, Crockett, who runs the program with the nonprofit Pasadena Altadena Community Youth Association, has tinkered slightly with the county's toy loan model by combining it with a fledgling reading program.
Children who participate earn points by reading and writing short essays about their book. Once they've amassed enough points, they become eligible to sign out a toy from the loan program, he said.
He hopes that in the coming months, the program will attract the attention of Downtown Los Angeles residents interested in volunteering to read aloud at the twice-weekly sessions, or propel some book donations. The hotel's library consists of two small boxes containing about 50 titles, most of which are tattered and worn. But that did not deter Judee Suazo, 10, whose mother keeps a room at the Huntington
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If you want to volunteer to read to kids in Skid Row, let Ron know!