In the Media

Camp for inner city kids aims to stop Los Angeles gang violence

By Leo Stallworth


What does swimming, rope climbing and camping have to do with fighting gang violence? Everything, according to the owner of a kids camp in Lake Hughes. More than 100 inner city kids are at Canyon Creek Camp in an effort to stop the cycle of gang violence in South Los Angeles. Jeff and Joyce Robinson own the camp.

“They are not having a childhood and they come up here and they have a chance at a childhood,” said Joyce Robinson.

For many of the 118 kids who stepped off a bus Friday morning at the camp, it was their first time away from the housing projects, the gangs and the violence that are too often a part of their daily lives.

“We are working toward something that is really historical,” said Joyce Robinson.

The Robinsons believe nature and love can touch children’s lives to help break the cycle of gang violence and crime in the inner city, one child at a time.

“They have never seen mountains. They’ve never seen deer. They can’t even dream about these things because they don’t even know they exist,” said Jeff Robinson.

“It’s fun and wonderful. You get to go hiking and swimming and all that,” said Toria Weaver, a camp participant.

For four years now, Canyon Creek Camp has hosted more than 3,000 inner city kids throughout Los Angeles. The Harold Robinson Foundation, named in honor of Jeff Robinson’s late father, picks up the more than $250,000 price tag per year to show these kids they are not enemies from rival gang territory, but rather just kids who deserve a better life.

“I grew up like them so I know how hard it is,” said camp counselor Darlene Frontuto. “We were stuck in apartments or having to watch what street we crossed just in case that was an enemy’s territory.”

Camp counselor James Anderson says the camp has a positive effect on the kids.

“Every single time we have a retreat up here, it always ends with these kids having open hearts and their parents crying because they see something they don’t see in their neighborhoods, and that’s love,” said Anderson.

To donate to the Harold Robinson Foundation, visit

In the Media

Pedal on the Pier raises funds to send inner-city kids to camp

By Lori Corbin


Sweating and cycling for a good cause is the theme for a very physical fundraiser coming up on Sunday at the Santa Monica Pier. It’s the Pedal on the Pier.What looks like a typical cycling class is actually a warm-up for a very long and special ride.

“Hundred bikes, 100 butts, 100 miles — simulated miles,” said John Scarangello, who is supplying bikes for charity and riders for Pedal on the Pier.

“We call it physical philanthropy, because we are going to be literally going for six hours on the Santa Monica Pier, 100 miles, an average of 18 miles an hour,” said Jeff Robinson, Harold Robinson Foundation.

This year, they’ll pedal on the pier. Last year it was New York’s Central Park, and the year before that, it was a 100-mile road tour. Each bike is “bought” for $250 and is responsible for raising $1,500. The goal is to raise a half-million dollars to send about 1,000 inner-city kids to Canyon Creek Retreat Center, a camp about an hour outside of Los Angeles.

“I know that they’re going to get out of their normal environments, which are sometimes desperate, and get out,” said Scarangello. “It could be a life-changing event for some of these kids.”

“So 90 percent of the kids have never even swam before,” said Robinson. “They see the grass on the fields and they just roll on the grass before we start anything.”

Full-time philanthropist Jeff Robinson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease six years ago. He takes pride in the physical effort as well as its rewards.

“I am on the meds, I work out, I take good care of myself, but working with kids has been my life’s work and it’s really been the best medicine I can take because I love what I do,” said Robinson.

So if you want to give it a go or simply watch others spin their wheels, you want to be at the Santa Monica Pier on Sunday for the 10 a.m. registration, and the cycling starts at 11. And remember it’s the pier, so bring sunscreen.