Tom Lent hits a home run for The Youth Center

The Youth Center reached the $200K goal for its 2022 fundraising campaign, beating last year’s record. The campaign started on March 1 and went through March 25 and concluded with an All In For The Kids Casino Night on March 25 at The Youth Center. The event was a celebration for the campaigners and volunteers  who pitched in to raise the much-needed funds to support local kids.

Southland Credit Union President and CEO Tom Lent led the 25th Annual Community Support Campaign as Campaign Chair, and proved he is in a league of his own, when he encouraged each campaigner to raise $1,000 and he personally raised over $16,000 for the campaign.

“I feel very fortunate to have been selected as the 2022 Campaign Chair to help the Youth Center and the kids in our community! They are an amazing organization, and my involvement with the Campaign this year only solidified that assessment.  I sincerely thank all the volunteer campaigners and our generous supporters for a great team effort! It was truly a Home Run for the Kids,” said Lent.

The All In For The Kids Casino Night at the conclusion of the campaign hit the ball out of the park by providing supporters, campaigners, and their guests a fun night of food, fun and entertainment, Vegas-style.

The event took place on March 25, from 6 to 10 p.m., at The Youth Center in Los Alamitos. Guests enjoyed a night of black jack, roulette, poker, craps, drinks, prizes, delicious food donated by Fortune Cookies, Borsh Deli, Wahoo’s Fish Taco, Beth Piburn Cuisine, and  dessert donated by Butter+Cream. Guests were also treated to a wine tasting experience, compliments of New Zealand Wine Navigator.

Special guests included the Southland Credit Union leadership team, over 30 Lion’s club members, Rotary Members, RHA, SA Recycling, and Eric Daschbach, the real estate broker responsible for helping the Youth Center secure their new home.

Ally Hatakeyama, president of the Emerging Leaders club at Los Alamitos High School spoke at the event, saying, “I feel safe here and don’t need to be home alone anymore,” is what one little girl at the Youth Center confided in me as I was volunteering. The Youth Center’s inspirational mission and campaign is extremely important to me as their development programs have such an amazing impact on our lives, strengthening our confidence, sense of identity, mental health, and belief in the future. I’ve seen these impacts firsthand and am motivated to support the Youth Center’s fundraising efforts so they can continue to provide low-cost, exceptional, learning experiences and social interactions to build our youth’s character and ensure we thrive in the future. Thank you to everyone who joined us in the past 25 days in our lasting efforts to hit a home run for the kids in the community! Together, we did it!”

Funds raised during the campaign and culminating event will provide scholarships, homework help, instrumental music instruction, teen leadership, life skills and career training.

Lina Lumme, executive director of The Youth Center said, “This has been a pretty difficult 2 years for the Youth Center. With the pandemic, the need for our services and scholarships increased, however the support from foundations decreased. Since foundations could not have their regular events, the giving level was not the same. Our staff, Board and volunteers worked super hard for the last two years to ensure we don’t turn a single child away and kept our doors open year-round for children who need us. We purchased the property a few months ago and this campaign was so important to us.

We needed to be successful in order to proceed with our plans. Tom Lent has been so amazing to work with. His passion for kids, his drive to make a difference, and “let’s do it together” personality inspired our team of campaign volunteers who helped us raise funds for the last 25 days. From 15-year-old campaigners to 87 year-old volunteers, we did it together and were successful because of Tom Lent’s leadership. We are working on bringing two new programs to our community and building a new center.

The funds we just raised will help us not only start building the center but bring these two programs to our local community. We will serve even more children and for that we are thankful to everyone who helped us by donating, volunteering, or connecting us with people who could help.”

For more information about The Youth Center, visit