We are so proud of our 2020 LiT high school graduates! They have worked so hard and are now on to the next steps of their journey. Our LiT program manager is proud to share with you more about their accomplishments - there is much to celebrate.

Violeta, also known as V to our group, has been a leader at LiT from day one. V has been a part of StreetWorkz and LiT and has also served as a volunteer with VBS and as an intern and classroom leader for CREATE Academy. Some of the things I appreciate most about V are her strength and resilience and heart to give back to others.

V is incredibly mature, driven and responsible and is always willing to share her experiences and story to encourage others. I’ve been so blessed by her desire and ability to serve in so many different capacities, from speaking at our banquet, to leading activities at LiT to bravely sharing her own journey of growth and learning to encourage others. It’s been really special to see how God has specifically used her to encourage and teach students she’s worked with in VBS and CREATE.

Working with kids at BCM helped affirm V’s dream of becoming a teacher, so I’m so excited that she’s graduated from Menlo Atherton High School and will be attending San Francisco State University this fall to study child development to pursue this goal. I am excited to see how God will continue to use her to bless others in her future.

Unlike V, Yenifer joined LiT in the start of her junior year of high school at Menlo Atherton. V brought Yenifer to visit LiT one day and encouraged her to stay, and she quickly became a part of the BCM family. Yenifer has been such a joy to have in program and even as a newer student, she was and is a great leader and example for our younger students and for the rest of our program.

On our retreat last year, she was our only junior and was able to share her story with our group during a sharing time. This encouraged others to do the same and helped students and volunteers become closer. This also led to a special time of prayer and worship for our students. I don’t know if Yenifer knows how much of an impact she’s had on the program, but I’ve seen her learn more about herself and demonstrate incredible thoughtfulness in her reflections on how God is at work in her life and in the lives of others, even during this season of pandemic. I have been so blessed by her attitude, openness and faith and her heart for worship. I know that she has blessed the program immensely. Yenifer also graduated from MA and is going to SFSU.

She hopes to work in health care and obstetrics in the future. I am so proud of both V and Yenifer and know that they have worked incredibly hard to graduate high school and get into college. God has already done amazing things in their lives and I am excited to see them continue to grow in this next season!

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 

Lamentations 3:22-23 

June 2020 

Dear BCM Family, 

During these unprecedented times, Bayshore Christian Ministries is grateful for the professionals working on the front lines to provide essential services to our community. Like so many youth-serving organizations, BCM had to quickly adapt to our shelter in place reality by modifying programs to connect with our youth “virtually.” Our team will continue to finish the school year interacting with East of Bayshore youth remotely, even as we gear up for in-person summer programs that will be critical to the children of East Palo Alto’s essential workers. As the health orders continue to evolve, BCM is permitted to reopen its building with the proper safety protocols. For example, we must create classrooms with appropriate social distancing, establish stable, small groups of staff and children, and follow additional procedures to ensure a safe learning environment. 

As I begin my transition away from BCM leadership, the essential nature of our work is clear. We receive daily confirmations from our teens and parents about how much they appreciate the love and support we share with each of them. This is especially helpful given the rising anxiety and stress levels of our students and their families. The academic learning loss during this time of distance learning is expected to be quite high for many of our elementary students. Thus, our mission remains to equip East of Bayshore youth not just academically and in life skills and leadership development, but more importantly, to help them discover and accept the love of Jesus. We desire to shine the light of Jesus into these dark times.

BCM’s summer plan is to offer as robust a program as safety allows: five weeks of daily academic enrichment for both elementary and middle school students. Our faith-based programs will continue to function remotely, building relationships through our Bible Clubs and middle and high school fellowships. We plan to modify our Vacation Bible School program to offer both outdoor, small groups and virtual programming. I love that our work is wholistic! 

Will you support BCM as we continue to reach students in East Palo Alto and Belle Haven? Enclosed you will find a Summer Giving Guide, which explains ways you can be part of BCM's summer ministry. We welcome your support through prayer, volunteer efforts or financial support. Thanks to the Jeremy Lin Foundation, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar and its impact doubled for the first $10,000 raised. To discover your donation options, please visit

I am looking forward to seeing how God will grow our students this summer! 

With gratitude, 

Rolando Zeledon 

Executive Director 

Check out this video from Carmen!

When you envision a Bayshore Christian Ministries volunteer, what comes to mind?  A young, Christian professional teaching in our teen Streetworkz or LiT spiritual program?  Perhaps a mom or a retired couple tutoring an East Palo Alto student or delivering a meal to a Vacation Bible School camp?  Maybe a musician leading worship music for one of our camps?  Or a tech worker taking time away from the job to lead a robotics workshop?   Yes, to all!  And, if you fit into any of these categories, please consider volunteering. 

But, how about a high school student, who has lived her whole life in East Palo Alto, joining a Bible Club team in her own neighborhood to translate for Spanish-speaking parents, lead music, and disciple her younger neighbors?  This perfectly describes Carmen Zurita, a 17-year-old senior, about to graduate from Woodside High School, and a highly valued member of BCM’s Westside Bible Club leadership team! 

Carmen’s first exposure to BCM was as an 8-year-old student attending a BCM Bible Club in the very apartment cluster where she still lives on the west side of Highway 101 in East Palo Alto, near the Four Seasons Hotel.  There, she leads a BCM Bible Club that could not function without her help, given her deep understanding of the culture and language of the families sending their children to our weekly gatherings.   

“My older siblings, cousins and I all enjoyed BCM programs beginning in elementary school.  We attended tutoring sessions, Vacation Bible School and Bible Clubs.  I fondly remember my leaders from that time, especially Miss Tammy and Mr. Steve,” said Carmen.  “I transitioned to volunteering last summer, working as a VBS leader in the Belle Haven neighborhood.” 

Worship music with hand motions was the best part of VBS, in Carmen’s opinion.  “It was exciting to see how much the students enjoyed worship.  Once we suggested that we were running short on time so we would skip the singing and dancing, but the youth insisted that we make time for the singing.  Because the lyrics stick in their minds, positive Christian songs are excellent for students’ mental and spiritual health.” 

Carmen is surprised to find herself remarking that the most impactful time she spends with the Westside Bible Club is picking the students up from their apartments and then walking them to the Bible Club and back, conversing in both English and Spanish, as they slip between the two languages, one which they speak at home, and the other at school.   

“This time of casual reflection is the best way to make personal connections,” opines Carmen.  “The boys and girls share with me when I ask them questions.  They tell me that their teachers at school are not as open with them as their Bible Club leaders. 

“Some of the kids leave home with thoughts that are not the best, but once they reach Bible Club, they find a safe space to talk about how they feel about things going on at school.  Once, when walking home with 3 students, I asked how Bible Club is different than school.  They replied, ‘We feel comfortable.  Whatever we learn here we go and share with our friends.  Some don’t believe, and some do, but we still share.’ 

“Another child told me, ‘When I’m scared, I pray to God and the fear goes away,’” continued Carmen.   “It’s encouraging to see children relying on God at such a young age.” 

Shelter in place has given Carmen the unique opportunity to help our Bible Club Program Manager, Leslie Tuakalau, connect with the parents in new ways: 

  • Explaining how to log their sons and daughters into our Zoom Bible Club meetings, 

  • Introducing parents to our weekly pizza contest, and,  

  • Gifting them with care packages filled with grocery gift cards for the family, plus educational materials, games and snacks for the students.

“I have seen parents’ hearts soften towards us as they receive the gift bags.  At first, when we would knock to pick up students for Bible Club, some parents were not particularly friendly.  But, the gift bags -- a sign that BCM cares for these kids -- shocked them.  They see that what we do is important.  They want their children to keep God in their hearts and thoughts,” Carmen reflects about the west side parents.  “They realize that the program is helping children do just that.  Since shelter in place started, every single mom has had a conversation with me that they believe in God and trust God to get them through this pandemic.  Ironically, these strange times are good for BCM’s relationship with East Palo Alto parents!”   

Carmen is uniquely created by God and placed in her volunteer role for such a time as this.  Ephesians 2:10 seems particularly appropriate: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” 

BCM is rejoicing with Carmen that she will be leaving East Palo Alto in the fall to attend her dream college, Fresno Pacific University, a small, Christian college.  There, she will study music performance and composition to continue her passion of leading Christians in worship, something she currently does both in BCM’s Bible Club, but also at Puerta del Cielo – her church in Menlo Park.  We will all miss Carmen but thank God for choosing to lead Carmen to BCM for this season of her life.  She has blessed so many as a volunteer! 


1001 Beech St

East Palo Alto, CA 94303

Phone: 650-327-1139

Fax: 650-327-4329



Stay Connected!

Thank you to our amazing photographers: 

Bonnie Sanders

Mitchel Chang

Jose Talavera

Stacey Chow

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