Boys and Girls Club
11/30/2008 04:00PM ● Published by Super Admin
With a mission “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens,” BGCE opened its first club in 1999, five years after the idea was first hatched by a group of concerned community members. Using the template for policy creation architected by the national Boys and Girls Club, BGCE is partially funded with federal, state and/or private foundation grants, but the majority of monies is received through fund-raising events, individual and corporate contributions.
Duane Wallace, executive director of BGCE, says that by helping to prevent juvenile crime, the organization provides a cost and societal benefit to the community. “It costs in excess of $50,000 per year to have a juvenile in the justice system,” he says. “The numbers tell the story. Forty percent of our club members live in economically disadvantaged circumstances and qualify for free or reduced lunch programs at school. Well over 50 percent live in single parent households. The isolation some kids feel can have tragic results when they are exposed to drugs, gangs and violence.”
Since its formation, BGCE, which serves children ages 6-18, has established clubs in Cameron Park at Pleasant Grove Middle School, in Pollock Pines at Emigrant Trail School and in Placerville at the Armory, where there is also a teen center. A fourth site in Georgetown is slated to open soon, and possibly, a future teen center. All facilities implement a “Youth Development Strategy,” which, according to Wallace, is a program created to “actively engage youth in positive activities and programs that build friendships, character, life skills and leadership.”
BGCE also offers programs in five core areas: Character and Leadership Development, Education and Career Development, Health and Life Skills, Arts, and Sports/Fitness and Recreation. In addition, gender specific and excursion programs are offered as well as a “Power Hour,” during which time club members are required to complete one hour of homework. “Grades are significantly improved as a result of our emphasis on homework,” Wallace says. “The reported graduation rate in California overall is 70 percent. [The] Boys and Girls Club, nationally, has a 90 percent graduation rate.” Membership dues for these trailblazing programs are just $12 per year. During summer, however, when the club is opened from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily programs are offered on a sliding scale, up to $10 daily.
“We are your community club for kids,” Wallace says. “It just takes one person to make a difference in the life of a child.
For more information or to get involved, call the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County Western slope at 530-295-8019, or visit bgce.org.