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    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire (http://www.artinstitutes.edu/inlandempire/) isn’t just an academic island. It’s a vital part of the local community, and one of its goal is to help the Inland Empire’s many nonprofit organizations whenever possible. That’s where the university’s Summer Studios program comes into play. The Summer Studios are four-day workshops for high school juniors and seniors assisted by the university’s teachers.

    “The idea behind the Summer Studios program,” says President Byron Chung, “is two-fold: On the one hand, it lets our students and high school participants explore the real world of fields that interest them. And on the other, the Art Institute works with the area’s non-profit groups that can use the help.”

    Take, for instance, San Bernardino’s Boys & Girls Club. The 40-year-old group, part of the 100-year-old national organization, has 2,000 young people it helps in its three area facilities. Clifford Hackney, the chief professional officer of the San Bernardino club, says their objective is to “enhance their quality of life.” He says, “Kids now have a safe place to do their homework, and there’s adult supervision for all activities. This is a one-stop shop for these kids. We offer them what will deter them from the negative element.”

    However, Mark Davis, the executive director of the San Bernardino club says, “Our brochures and web site have never looked professional. There’s never been a cohesive appearance to any of it. So, when the Art Institute contacted us to help, we leaped at it.”

    From June 26-29, the university will coordinate about 20 students, high schoolers and institute members, to improve the club’s printed materials, web site and even improve the meal offerings.

    Santosh Oommen, the academic director of the university’s Media Arts & Animation department, heads the brochure and web program for the club. “While assisting with the Boys & Girls Club material, we’re also introducing kids to what real-life work is like. They don’t just sit in a classroom all day, but are actually ‘on the job,’ creating, developing and administering what this nonprofit needs,” Oommen says.

    From the 125 students in all his programs, Oommen has a select handful who will be designing a new club brochure and other printed material to present the myriad facets of the club’s services. No easy task, but, he adds, “The high school students who have enrolled in the Summer Studios will be working with our top institute students to pull it off.”

    “Our web site,” Davis said, “has always been a hodgepodge. It’s been worked on here and there, but it’s hard to manipulate, update and use. The Art Institute will solve that problem perfectly. The site and materials have never looked professional or standardized in any way.”

    “The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire boasts one of the finest and most complete Culinary Arts departments in the state”, says Chef Eyad Joseph, the program’s director. He has about 30 culinary students garnering real-world experience for careers as sous chefs, baking and pastry chefs, corporate chefs, cruise chefs, restaurant chefs and more.

    For the rest of the year, the Culinary Arts Department plans to create new lunch menus for about 125 children who daily attend the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino’s main facility (1180 W. 9th Street).

    The Art Institute’s Summer Studios program has been in operation for more than five years throughout the university’s 34 campuses across North America. Currently in its second year, the San Bernardino campus’ Summer Studios program brings the school’s full potential and experience to numerous Inland Empire non-profit organizations. “We want to help the community whenever and wherever we can,” Chung says. And so they do.

    For more information about The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire, call at (909) 915-2100.

    For more information about the San Bernardino Boys & Girls Club, Call Mark Davis at (909) 888-6751.


    Photo Caption:  Left to Right; Jerold Faust, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Monica Jeffs, Director of Admission, The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire and Mark Davis Executive Director of the boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino and Rialto. 

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