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Music played, bacon-wrapped hot dogs tempted and games beckoned Friday at the Acacia branch of the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club.
Such was the local celebration of National Boys & Girls Clubs of America week.
As kids played happily in front of the Acacia Center, parents chatted with staff and enjoyed themselves, too.
Alaina Cortijo, 10, eagerly explained her rubber duck game.
“You have to pick two ducks,” she said, plucking the birdies from a red container. “If they match, you get a candy.”
Angel Herrera, 11, emphasized that the make a boat float game was easy for him.
“You make it into a square,” he said, folding his foil piece, dumping marbles on it and watching it stay afloat. Success!
Soraya James, 6, just wanted a hug.
So she ran up to her favorite volunteer, Susan Schwartz, and gave her a big hug.
“It’s good,” she said, of the event and the hug. Her favorite game? “The watermelon challenge.”
Drake Gutierrez, 8, enjoyed the food. He took a big bite of his nachos while surveying the other goodies — the hot dogs, popcorn, nachos and snow cones.
His mom, meanwhile, explained her love of the club.
“He has gone up two levels in his reading because of all her personal attention,” said Andrea Gutierrez of the Acacia Center’s leader, Josefina Arteaga.
The sports, teamwork, diversity and more are also great, she said.
“You get it all in one place,” she enthused.
Another plus, she added, is the cohesive atmosphere.
“These kids work together as a family because of Josefina,” she said. “She’s wonderful.”
For her part, Arteaga remained humble.
“The priority for me is the kids have fun,” she said. “Seeing them all happy and smiling, my day is made.”

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