Take one of the oldest settlements in California; add one man's vision and concern for children; and blend-in modern society's evils. The outcome is a young man named Tad Evans.
Tad Evans of San Juan Capistrano. Photo by Dominique Riley of the Orange County Register
Officially settled in 1776, the city infamous for swallows returning each 19 March, San Juan Capistrano, California, is home to 17-year-old Evans who told The Orange County Register that he sees himself "as the president of the United States," given two or three decades, "that's been my dream since I was little."
Evans was named the 2006 Capistrano Valley Boys & Girls Club youth of the year -- but not for being a presidential hopeful.
The club, founded by life-long resident of San Juan Capistrano, Tony Forster, awarded Evans this year's honor for overcoming a difficult childhood. Evans admits that he was headed down the wrong path --caught in drug and alcohol abuse-- and he was kicked out of school.
During one night of partying, Evans was involved in an automobile accident, but he was not seriously injured. He turned to the Capistrano Boys & Girls Club, received mentor support, and with "hard work" he later went on to graduate from Junipero Serra High School.
Now Evans helps other teens understand the dangers associated with drugs, alcohol, and gangs. "Without the club, I'd be dead," he told the newspaper.
Evans returned mentorship skills, given him by the community organization, and became president of the Keystone Club, a youth club, which develops leadership skills.
But if Evans one day reaches his dream and takes the oval office, he will owe his success in part to the offspring of ancestors who were swindled by a young White House.
The Forster estate, which included the famous mission grounds, was confiscated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and given to the Catholic Church. Forster's English ancestors would undoubtedly be proud of their great, great grandson's mission to help children.
In as much as the icon family never envisioned vanished rolling grasslands of the Capistrano Valley nearly 200 years later, their lifeline did survive and now helps teens to overcome demons of our day.
With the support from a family --once struck by a White House decree-- Evans turned personal tragedy into triumph. History will now report how a Forster from Capistrano steared teenagers towards achieving their dreams -- and perhaps one of those new dreams will create a President Tad Evans.
Visit Boys & Girls Clubs of the United States To read more about the Capistrano chapter visit http://www.bgccapo.com/
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