RCYF’s Long History and Mission Featured in Austin American-Statesman

October 16th, 2016 by admin

When the River City Youth Foundation first started its work in the Dove Springs neighborhood of Southeast Austin 33 years ago, kids in the area were faced with high levels of drugs, gang activity and violence.

Mona Gonzalez, the group’s founder and executive director, sought to create a safe place for them to learn and grow…….

Read the article here…http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local/after-33-years-river-city-youth-foundation-a-mains/nsrNz/

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River City Youth Foundation’s ‘Build Your Future’ Club takes on cancer in Dove Springs

October 26th, 2013 by admin

Group Organizes Fall for a Cure Fest to Help 5-Year-Old Cancer Victim

The Build Your Future Club (BYF) is a new teen club in Austin sponsored by River City Youth Foundation. BYF wants to create a successful future for kids living in southeast Austin’s Dove Springs. On Sunday, October 27, 2013 the BYF Club will take on the challenge of beating cancer in its community. It will produce the first-ever cancer fundraiser for Dove Springs called the FALL FOR A CURE FEST. The fall festival benefits a five-year-old boy who is suffering a rare form of nerve tissue cancer and will undergo six surgeries.

Follow the BYF Club on social media using hashtags #FallForACure #beatcancer #DoveSprings

To volunteer, email pr@rivercityyouth.org


See how the BYF Club has been preparing.

Hear their mission http://tinyurl.com/FallForACureFest2013


Connect with the BYF Club


Fall for a Cure Festival Poster

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Dell employees offer a helping hand at RCYF.

December 9th, 2011 by Mona

The 14th Annual Merry Memories Holiday is tomorrow and we have been busy working our magic here at RCYF to make sure this event is absolutely fabulous. Last year, over 2,000 children attended Merry Memories. This year, we are expecting even more.

For many of the families that attend, this is the only time their children will be receiving holiday gifts. We want to make sure that we are able to give everyone a present. Our goals have been set high this year and are thankful that so many of our community partners have stepped up to fill in the gaps. From hosting toy drives to supporting the games and activities that will be taking place, the support has been tremendous.

Along with all the community support, we have had some extra help from our friends at Dell. A group employees representing countries from all over the world spent the day at RCYF helping us plant a garden, beautify or outdoor areas, and find ways to get more people involved with Merry Memories. We want to say thank you to everyone who came out and donated their time.

Working in the garden DELL marketing group 067Hard at work-DELL marketing group 076Fixing tables-DELL marketing group 070

If you want to help, it’s not too late to host your own toy drive. We are accepting toy donations until the 21st to benefit our adopt a family program. Contact us if you want more information.  Also, we can always use an extra pair of hands to help out on the day of the event. If you are looking for a way to give back to your community this month, come on down and volunteer at the event.

Want to spread some holiday cheer and support RCYF at the same time? Order a set of RCYF Christmas Cards. These cards were designed by some of our kids and are a great way to let people know that you are thinking about them this holiday season. Remember, every set of cards that is sold will feed a RCYF kid for a month.

Hope to see everyone down at the Dove Springs Recreation Center tomorrow!

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RCYF gets some toy help from some Galactic Empire Elves

December 4th, 2011 by Mona

Less than one week until the 14th Annual Merry Memories Holiday! Things here at RCYF are really picking up as we move into the final few days of preparation. If you are looking for something to do this weekend, contact us to see how you can help. Want to drop off some toys or a cash donation? We are still accepting donations for both Merry Memories and our Adopt a Family program.

This past weekend, RCYF was invited to spend the day at the Chemical Toy Fare. Held Saturday December 3 at the Norris Conference Center, about 100 tables showcasing some of the season’s hottest toys and collectibles were featured at the event.

An exhibitor's star wars collection IMG_20111203_112932

Along with the collectors, vendors, and toy enthusiasts that filled the center, a few “dark” characters were seen at the event.

RCYF team with Star Wars figures

That’s right, Darth Vader and crew made an appearance. But don’t worry, Vader wasn’t here to steal any presents or wreck havoc on anyone’s home planet. In fact, he was here as a representative from a very unique volunteer organization.

Banner for Star Wars event IMG_20111203_110938

The Chemical Toy Fare organizers teamed up with the Austin 501st Legion Chapter (Vader’s First) to do a meet and greet and take photos with attendees. The 501st is an all-volunteer group of Star Wars enthusiasts that spread their love of Star Wars by making appearances at community functions and volunteering at numerous events throughout the year.

Thanks to Chemical Toy Fare and the 501st Legion, RCYF took home about 100 toys and several other cash donations. With over 2,000 children expected to line up for presents at this year’s Merry Memories, we are grateful to be able to put a dent in the toy collection.

As an added bonus, the 501st Legion will be visiting Merry Memories this year. If you are a lover of all things Star Wars, be sure to come volunteer at Merry Memories this Saturday at the Dove Springs Recreation Center for your chance to meet and have your picture taken with this extraordinary group.

Maybe Darth Vader and friends aren’t bad guys after all.

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Get Ready for the 14th Annual Merry Memories Holiday Event!

November 16th, 2011 by Mona

The weather has finally dropped out of the triple digits and that can only mean one thing; it’s time to start getting ready for the holidays. It might only be November, but RCYF is already gearing up for the celebration of the year.

MerryMemories2010-row of toys IMG_6470-1

Join us on December 10 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm for the 14th Annual Merry Memories Event. Thanks to our partners, this is shaping up to be one of our most successful Merry Memories ever. But with more than 2,000 children expected to attend, we can use all the help and support from the community.

There are many ways to get involved this year. You can buy a set of holiday cards, sponsor a toy drive, or volunteer at the 14th Annual Merry Memories event. We are looking for people to decorate, distribute toys, run craft table, and support the community by spreading holiday cheer. Take a look at this video to see the holiday wonderland our volunteers were able to create last year.

IMG_6519 IMG_6515

Want to continue your involvement after Merry Memories? Contact us to Adopt a Family and ensure that all of the children at the center have a warm holiday meal to come home to this Christmas. Last year, 100 local families benefited from this program.

The 14th Annual Merry Memories is being sponsored by these partners:
Dell, MWM Design, Austin Fire Department, Amigos en Azul, ABC Bank, Kiwanis Club, City of Austin Parks & Recreation, and more.

For more information on sponsoring at Merry Memories or any other holiday opportunities, please contact Oné Musel-Gilley at PR at RiverCityYouth.org.

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Join River City Youth Foundation for a Hopping Good Time!

April 8th, 2011 by Mona

Looking for something fun to do this Easter Season? Join us at River City Youth Foundation as we kick off the celebration a day early!


On April 23, we will be hosting our 13th Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Come out for food, fun, and one of the largest Easter Egg Hunts in Southeast Austin. Thanks to all our volunteers and our sponsor, New York Life, there will be surprises for all our families and lots of eggsciting Easter activities for the kids. Keep an eye out for golden eggs hidden around the yard. Finding one will be rewarded with a special prize. Be sure to stop by our educational game booths and learn something while you are having fun. Be sure to bring your camera, we may be visited by a special fluffy guest.

If you are interested in helping out at this year’s Easter Egg Hunt, contact us at PR@RiverCityYouth.org. You can show your support by volunteering at the event or making a donation to RCYF. Want to start helping now? We can always use help collecting and decorating eggs before the event (as long as they are the plastic kind). Either way, come out and enjoy a day full of fun, family activities.

For more info, phone number 440-1111 x18

Be sure to follow us on Twitter to get the latest news on what’s happening at the Center.

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100 Families Benefit from Adopt a Family Program.

January 1st, 2011 by Mona

What a year! River City Youth Foundation has had a standout holiday season. With 100 families adopted and over 2,000 children receiving gifts at the 13th Annual Merry Memories toy give-a-way, this truly was a year for the books.

December 24 brought the RCYF family together for a Pluckers holiday feast. Pluckers owners, David and Jenny Paul, conducted the fourth annual Pluckers Christmas Eve Luncheon for River City Youth Foundation. They provided all you can eat food for families and great toys for every child and teenager in attendance. Once the numbers were tallied, over 200 people had come in, and for some, this gathering was their Christmas dinner.

RCYF_Sara Young052 RCYF_Sara Young050

We would also like to thank everyone who participated in our Adopt a Family event, especially our major supporters: New York Life, Barry Levinson, Bob Larson, Nyle Cowan, and Carolyn Nelson. Thanks to the gracious donations from people all around the area, 100 families were adopted and provided with a special holiday meal this holiday season. Although this level of community generosity would be enough to move any onlooker, there was a second story unfolding that night.

Two weeks ago, at RCYF’s Merry Memories toy give-a-way, 15-year-old Eric Reyes won a new bike in the toy raffle and gave it to his little brother. Ever since, support for the Reyes family has been pouring in. People all around the community had been contacting the foundation wanting to purchase a bike for Eric. Eventually, enough support was raised so that we were able to present Eric and all his brothers and sisters with new bikes, helmets, and locks. The family also received a gift card with gifts from community members (Read more about the Reyes Family). We would like to thank Jenie Perry from the Statesman for coordinating with readers Kathy Wilhelm, Neel Morton, Jerry Biscoe, and Suzanne Weinert. They truly made this an unforgettable Christmas for the Reyes family.

RCYF_Sara Young072 RCYF_Sara Young_109 RCYF_Sara Young056

As the year draws to a close, many of us tend to get caught up in finding the “perfect” gifts for our friends and loved ones that we often forget that it’s the selfless acts of kindness that truly make the season what it is.

We are looking forward to all the great things the New Year has in store for us. One thing that we are excited about is seeing our technology program kicked into high gear thanks to Dell Computers and their “Wired & Inspired Neighborhood” program. Stay tuned to hear more about that!

RCYF_Sara Young_111 RCYF_Sara Young_024

From all of us here at River City Youth Foundation, we wish you and your family the best in the year to come. Have a safe and happy New Year!

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Merry Memories Creates Holiday Magic for Families in the Dove Springs Community

December 16th, 2010 by Mona

River City Youth Foundation would like to extend a big thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who came out and participated at our 13th Annual Merry Memories Holiday this past weekend.

Hours before the first families began arriving, the Dove Springs Recreation Center was buzzing with holiday cheer. Over 100 high school students, college students, and community leaders arrived to put some holiday touches on the venue. By the time they finished, the recreation center had been transformed into a holiday wonderland with paper snowmen, Christmas trees, elves, a magician, and the man in the red suit himself.

Decorations inside the gym

More than 200 volunteers helped make dreams come true for thousands of underserved children in the Dove Springs community. Goodie bags with hot dogs and cookies were distributed to families as they waited patiently for their turn to walk through the Toy Depot where Santa’s helpers were lined up to give each child a toy.

Merry Memories Volunteers
Merry Memories Volunteers

The excitement of the holidays continued outside as families listened to holiday music, worked on crafts, and enjoyed the crisp weather. However, the true sprit of the season became most obvious when 15-year-old Eric Reyes came on stage to claim the bike he won in the toy raffle. To everyone’s amazement, Eric picked the smallest bike available. When asked why he did this, Eric told raffle organizers that he had promised his little brother that if he won, he’d get a bike for him. If you want to read more about Eric and his generosity, get all the details in the Austin American-Statesman article here.

Eric and his winning ticket.
Eric and his winning ticket

Thousands of children were shown the gift of sharing and caring at Merry Memories. And this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of numerous supporters. We want to thank some of you personally, including New York Life, City of Austin, Austin Firefighters, APD’s Amigos en Azul, MWM Design, Dell Computer, Kiwanis Club of Austin, Key Clubs of Akins and Crockett High Schools, Tony Martinez and his group, Danny Forbes, Elizabeth Gonzales, and many others.


If reading this post has put you in a festive mood, we encourage you to contact River City Youth Foundation and find out what you can do this holiday season. We are still looking for people to adopt a family for the season. If you want to help Santa this year, please contact us at PR@rivercityyouth.org. Thank you for all your support. Have a blessed and safe holiday!

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13th Annual Merry Memories Call for Volunteers

October 21st, 2010 by Mona

RCYF MerryMemories Logo_13

Date: December 11th, 2010

Time: 12 to 3 p.m.

River City Youth Foundation is putting out a call for volunteers for this year’s 13th annual Merry Memories holiday event. Donate toys, organize a toy drive, or come and help out at the event. If you would like more information on what you can do to help, email us at pr@rivercityyouth.org.

This event is the second largest toy drive in all of Austin and will benefit thousands of local children living in the Dove Springs area.

Also, don’t forget to check out the RCYF Holiday Cards. These cards were designed by RCYF children and will be a festive touch when wishing family and friends season’s greetings.

The holidays are going to be here before we know it. It’s never too early to start thinking about what you can do to give back to your community.

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October 5th, 2010 by Mona

October 8th, 2010


Come join us at Forest Creek Golf Course for the 15th annual Golf Tournament and be a part of River City Youth’s largest annual benefit .

Registration forms are available online.


Sponsor a golf team to support River City Youth Foundation’s programs and activities.


All members of the River City Youth Community.


FRIDAY, October 8th, 2010.

12:00 PM Registration

1:00 PM Shotgun Start

5:30PM Dinner


18 hole, 4-person team scramble, shotgun start.


For more than 25 years, River City Youth Foundation has been helping children and families thrive. The award-winning youth and technology center is based in southeast Austin’s Dove Springs community. It is a First Place National Keep America Beautiful Awardee whose programs have been modeled nationally and globally.

Learn more about RCYF at www.rivercityyouth.org.


Oné Musel-Gilley

(pronounced onay)

PR Chair, River City Youth Foundation

(512) 576-0219

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