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The Valley

New Library Dedicated at Youth Camp

Detention: A Long Beach painter launched the project while an inmate at the Saugus facility.

July 07, 2001|ERIN PARK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

With a few tables, bookshelves and computers, the room in the camp for delinquent boys may look nondescript.

But with the dedication Friday, Camp Kenyon J. Scudder in Saugus became the first of Los Angeles County's 19 such camps to boast a library.

The library was the brainchild of Aundre Vann, who graduated from a tough childhood to a 1 1/2-year stint in Camp Scudder that ended in September 1999. Now 19, he's a painter in Long Beach who credits the camp with straightening him out.

"He's had so much negative in his life, he wanted to do something positive," said Edward Anhalt, director of the camp.

The library will serve the 100 to 125 teenage boys who live at Scudder. Convicted of crimes ranging from gang activity to grand auto theft, cadets stay at the probation camp between 14 weeks and a year, depending on court orders. When Vann began the project, he knew he would be gone before it was completed. But he pursued the library with determination--designing the facility, preparing cost estimates and sending his proposal to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

"That was complicated; it took me awhile," Vann said.

"I knew it was going to help them because this camp helped me even without the library," he said.

Camp volunteer Maria Lamonica, who played a major role in setting up the library, raised about $2,000 for the project. The rest of the funding came from the county and in-kind donations from Borders Books in Santa Clarita and private individuals.

"You can't go wrong with a library," Vann said.

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