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Reg Evans making a difference
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Reg Evans got involved with the Youth Education Sports Foundation two years ago.

"This is my passion," said Evans, area manager for the Central Valley. "I get a kick out of seeing smiles on kids faces."

The primary function of YES is to help young people in need or at-risk.

"Our organization is a non-profit group that assists other established youth orientated groups, such as Boys and Girls clubs, PAL, YMCA, parks and recreation departments, and many other groups, with bringing leagues right into the heart of their neighborhoods," Evans said. "These are neighborhoods that would otherwise not have any sports programs for thousands of kids in need. YES is run by many hard-working volunteers, including business owners and professionals, scholars, law enforcement officials, and Olympic and professional athletes."

YES has established a host of leagues, including futsal, basketball, volleyball and tennis. Clinics have been offered for all four sports, plus soccer, softball and baseball.

Futsal is similar to indoor soccer. It's fast paced and there's five players to a side. Games are 40 minutes long. Futsal is internationally recognized by FIFA. The U.S. National futsal team finished seventh at the World Championships in December 2004.

"Our leagues run for 52 weeks, and the kids and their parents are never charged a dime," Evans said. "We operate through fundraising and sponsorships from major entities, such as Nike and United Soccer Foundation. In essence, we take these young boys and girls off of the streets and put balls into their hands, instead of guns. This program is not only working, it's growing, and many major corporations are starting to take notice."

The YES Foundation originated in Baja, Mexico in 1989.

"This thing's growing big time," Evans said. "Right now, we have 3,000 to 4,000 kids that are actively participating. In January, we want to start the educational part of it."

YES has chapters in Manteca, Stockton, Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Phoenix.

"I want to start something up in the Ceres area. But I don't want to step on anybody's toes," Evans said. "The first sport I'm going to bring is futsal. I'm targeting October or November after the other leagues are done."

Evans and YES will be holding a fundraiser softball tournament at Kerr Park in Oakdale, July 30-31.

"It's benefiting the kids," he said.

Evans has been involved with the Ceres Cowboys football and cheerleading organization for five years. He's filled the president position for two seasons. Evans has two children, A.J., 10, and Jasmine, 9. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier