SOS Camp Teaches Positive Community & Safety

September 6th, 2017 by admin

Celebrating its 11th consecutive summer season in Dove Springs, RCYF’s Summer of Safety (SOS) Camp engaged students with activities focused on character building, community development, and safety.

Campers had a great time with excursions to Candlelight Ranch, Texas River School, and Mexic-Arte Museum. They also did community service projects with Perez Elementary and Caritas of Austin.

A big SOS highlight this summer was getting a personal training session with local professional boxer Ray Gatica.

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Rock Stars Emerge at Dove Springs Coding Academy

August 24th, 2017 by admin

The second annual Dove Springs Coding Academy (DSCA) summer program

was amazing!  It was seven straight weeks of coding, teamwork,

communication projects, and outdoor logic activities.


New for DSCA this summer was CHESS WEEK where 90% of

elementary and MS/HS campers learned how to play chess for the first time.

Students loved learning chess SO much that they eagerly worked

to improve their chess skills all summer.


Another highlight for the summer was hosting a delegation of tech journalists

and activists from Africa!  These journalists engaged DSCA students around the topic

of using technology for social change.


This summer our hard-working DSCA coders (some only 5 years old!)

learned the fundamentals of coding logic and programming through

website design, interactive multimedia, video game design, career mentoring,

and field trips. One field trip to Google Fiber headquarters was an awesome intro

to virtual reality programming.

Check out more summer highlights and photos of DSCA on RCYF’s
Twitter and Facebook timelines.

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170 Students Supercharged at RCYF’s Summer Camps

August 24th, 2017 by admin

Summer at River City Youth Foundation was awesome!

More than 170 children and teens who live in Dove Springs
attended camps at RCYF. There were two programs offered by RCYF this summer –

the Dove Springs Coding Academy located at the main S. Pleasant Valley facility

and our SOS Camp located in the far eastern William Cannon area.

RCYF served students ranging from kinder to high school.

Big THANK YOU to the City of Austin, Google Fiber, Central Road & Utility,
Glimmer of Hope Foundation, Austin ISD, and New York Life
for supporting our summer programs.

To see photos and highlights of RCYF’s summer camps, visit our
Twitter and Facebook.

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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…

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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


See how the BYF Club has been preparing.

Hear their mission


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.

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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

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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 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.

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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!

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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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