Sitting in the middle of new housing and commercial development in Canyon Country, the second annual SCV Day on Saturday aimed to serve the community in more ways than one.
The event, organized by the Rotary Club, allowed small, independent businesses and pop-ups to sell their goods at Vista Canyon. The stalls were varied, from handcrafted art, pottery, and jewelry booths to merchants selling tasers and other self-defense tools.
Event organizer and Rotary Club chair, Jason Downs, said the proceeds from the event go toward helping youth who are at risk of being homeless. Downs said while there are many community organizations that help kids who are already homeless, there is a support gap for those who are on the brink of it — such as youth living in cars, hotel rooms, multi-family dwellings, or come from low-income families.
“What we’re hoping to do with this is just be one more voice in the community that is letting them know they’re not alone,” said Downs. “You know, you’ve got support, you have a community, you know what I mean? And that’s really what we’re trying to be as a Rotary club to these people, and build that relationship with these students as well.”
Downs said local social workers will inform the club of certain needs in the community, whether it be school supplies or scholarships, and in turn the Rotary club works toward funding these needs.
“We gave out scholarships last year to five kids who were going to go to college for the first time in their family, their entire family, first generation,” said Downs. “That’s amazing. I mean, nothing feels better than that.”
Comedian Pam McGeary, who also served as master of ceremonies for the event, said when she first moved to the Santa Clarita Valley, she had no idea there were more than 800 registered homeless youth here.
“I donate my time to good charities like this. I love doing it. I’m brand new in the Santa Clarita Valley, so it just really tugged at my heartstrings,” said McGeary. “I’ve only been here in Santa Clarita for five months now and I didn’t even know that there were any homeless youth in the valley. You know, I had no idea. So when they told me there’s over 800 registered, that really was a shocking number.”
Many of those attending SCV Day knew they were there to help support these businesses, but little did they know they were also helping the community out in a bigger way as well.
“I didn’t know when I ordered, they didn’t share that,” said Jo-Anne Jace, an attendee. “It’s hard to recover from it. So once you get on that path, it’s hard to come back and so if we can prevent it before it happens, I think that’s really valuable for not only the individual, but for the community as a whole.”
The Rotary Club said it hopes the new and developing location in Canyon Country will be a great place for SCV Day to expand as well, with plans already underway for next year.