Ventura County

Robert Shapiro launches Brent Club at Oxnard Boys and Girls Club in honor of son

Brent Club Foundation

OXNARD, Calif. - Attorney Robert Shapiro, best known for his role as one of the lawyers tasked with defending O.J. Simpson in his 1995 trial, stopped by the Oxnard Boys and Girls Club Tuesday afternoon.

After Shapiro lost his son to a drug overdose back in 2005 he started the "Brent Shapiro Foundation" for drugs and prevention in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club.

The foundation made its way to Oxnard. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the Brent Shapiro Foundation joining the Boys and Girls Club located at 126 E 7th Street in Oxnard.

"This will be our 20th club," said Shapiro. "The majority of them started off in California."

His foundation started with heartache. Shapiro and his wife lost their son Brent in 2005 after a long battle with drugs.

"Brent was one of the most amazing kids you have ever seen," said Shapiro.

Shapiro's son had issues with drugs and alcohol at an early age, going to rehab several times. In his 20s he got sober and went to USC with plans for law school, but in 2005, he relapsed.

"He was brain-dead and did not recover," said Shapiro. "We decided to use his life to save lives, and we started the Brent Shapiro Foundation for alcohol and drug prevention."

The foundation gives kids academic support and mentorship to prevent them from turning to drugs or alcohol. Erin Antrim is the CEO at the Boys and Girls Club in Oxnard, she said a program like this will do wonders for everyone involved.

"Peer pressure is really strong and so if you can make sure you are in front of those kids talking about prevention and what it means to make positive choices that is half the battle," said Antrim. "We drug test the kids every other week so when they test clean we take them on trips, like Dodger games, iPads and things that will help them with their education".

The foundation started in Los Angeles with twenty kids. Today it has over 1,500 teens with Oxnard becoming the 20th location.

"I was really surprised he chose Oxnard because it is in really urban areas, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago and now little ‘ol Oxnard," said Antrim.

The Brent Foundation has a high success rate with only one teen not passing a drug test in the last fourteen years.

"There is no question it is working," said Shapiro. "It is not only changing the idea of staying off of drugs, but it is giving kids incentive to go to college."

Once teens complete the "Brent Club" they are eligible for a scholarship. It is something Shapiro thinks his son Brent would be happy about.

"I think he would be smiling," said Shapiro.

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