Trayana Davis knows all about the benefits of the Manteca/Lathrop Boys and Girls Club.
As the reigning Youth of the Year the Sierra High School senior – who has spent the last seven years taking in the programs of “the club that beats the streets” – said that there wasn’t anywhere else she’d rather be on Friday night than hanging out with the friends and the staff that have been there to support her along the way.
Especially on the night that the community bonds together to lend financial support to keep the programs running that served the youth of Manteca for almost four decades.
On Friday Davis was on hand for the 36th annual Boys and Girls Club Telethon – the first time in more than 30 years that the event was not broadcast on a local cable access channel – to offer her support and help wherever possible.
Being that it’s an organization that has done so much for her, she said, it was the least that she could do.
“I just love the staff down here – they’re really helpful and they go out of their way to make it possible to be successful,” Davis said. “Every chance I get I’m trying to talk this place up and get people to come down here and play basketball when it’s in season. I mean, where else can you pay $24 for a membership that’s good for a year that gets you the perks that this place gives you.
“It really does keep kids off the street and get them to focus on their studies. I didn’t care about school when I first started coming here, and I never thought that would change but it has. I owe a lot to this place.”
While the absence of cameras changed the layout and the general atmosphere of the overall event – instead appealing to adult crowd by serving drinks in a fun carnival atmosphere – it also took some of the pressure away from the groups that volunteer their time and their resources to help drum up donations that are crucial when it comes to the annual operating budget.
According to Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters – a past board president and current board member in charge of bringing the volunteer groups to man the phone banks – there’s a little bit more room on the dais without the cameras and the equipment necessary to run them. That, he said, takes some of the pressure out of what had until this year been “the hot seat” for local service clubs, churches, business groups and volunteers.
“So far people really seem to enjoy it,” Waters said. “It’s not as chaotic and it’s much more relaxed and even though we don’t get that exposure we still have 18 to 20 groups that are willing to come down this year and help phone calls that provide for the youth of the community.
“This is all about presenting kids with good role models and helping them become good citizens and this event is important towards reaching that goal.”
The club is currently serving 2,500 youth at locations in Manteca and Lathrop.