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Kiwanis honors Fabian Jimenez, long-time coach and mentor

The Kiwanis Club recently honored Shafter native Fabian Jimenez for his many years of service to the community, especially the youth of the city.

Jimenez has been involved with several youth sports over the years, giving his time, expertise, and efforts to enriching the lives of Shafter's youth. The honor was given to Jimenez at a recent Kiwanis meeting that included clubs from all over Kern County. There was even a visit from Margo Dutton, the governor of the California, Nevada, and Hawaii regions of the Kiwanis Club International.

Most recently, Jimenez was the head coach of a girls 11U basketball team that traveled to San Diego and competed in the California State Games. The team came home with the State Championship trophy, beating the host San Diego team in the final.

Several members of this team had been coached by Jimenez since they were 4 and 5 years old. The organization, named the STG, or Salvation Training Ground, began as a way for Jimenez and his staff of volunteers to help kids improve their basketball skills, with the girls being ages 6-15. The girls 11U team's season began in April, and they trained 2-3 times a week. They competed in three local tournaments, getting two first place trophies and a second place trophy during the season.

The last first place trophy they won qualified them for the California State Games. Regional tournaments were held all over California, allowing multiple regions an opportunity to send their teams to compete for the state title.

Jimenez said that this team had a great chemistry because of the hours they spent training, and a lot of the girls had been teammates for several years, growing up together in the different divisions they competed in.

"These girls were a special group, and I had some of them ever since they were four and five years old," said Jimenez. He also said that he loved coaching the teams, giving them a chance to improve their skills and grow as young women off the court, as well as on the court. "It has been a pleasure coaching these girls and I love helping the kids of Shafter, giving them the same chances that I had growing up in this city."


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