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Club reopens with new programs
Phil Waterford plays some basketball with Youth of the Year Trayana Davis inside the Manteca Boys & Girls gym. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Trayana Davis thinks Phil Waterford has game.

And she also thinks he’s a great guy for supporting the Boys & Girls Club of Manteca-Lathrop that gives 1,800 youth like her a safe place to drop by to do homework, learn new things, have fun or just hang with friends.

“He’s good at basketball,” Davis, a club member who is a senior at Sierra Hugh said.  ”He’s better than me.”

Davis challenged Waterford to 1-on-1 basketball after the Manteca Ford dealer dropped by a  check Wednesday for $10,004 to help the club provide programs for youth ages 6 to 18.

Waterford is one of more than 800 individuals and businesses that donate each year to help the club operate. The bulk of the non-profit’s $400,000 annual budget comes from donations and private grants

“I believe that the measure of a person’s life is the effect they have on others.” Waterford said. “These kids are our future so it’s important that we listen to them and most important, invest in them.

“The Boys and Girls Club is an alternative to gangs, drugs and guns. Today I had an opportunity of talking with several of the kids as they shared their dreams and goals with me.

“I was encouraged! A dream is nothing more than a goal with a timeline attached. If you can believe it, you can achieve it. Great futures start at the Boys and Girls club!”

Waterford said he knows that from his own experiences attending a Boys & Girls Club while growing up in  the Chicago area.

The club has reopened after being closed for a little more than a week for annual maintenance and clean-up.

Program Director Mark McCool noted a number of things are coming up at the club in the coming weeks:

uFlag football signups have started with play getting underway Sept. 9.

uKohl’s Healthy Habits Day is Friday, Aug. 28, at 5 p.m. Kohl’s associates will play volleyball against club members and then provide them with healthy snacks as well as donating funds to the club.

uThe new dance class starts Sept. 2.

uGK Music’s guitar, drums and choir lessons start Sept 4. Lessons take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

uThe Lego Robotics Academy being staged by Sylvan Learning Center starts Sept. 16.

All of those activities and more are  included in the $24 annual membership fee that covers all activities. Scholarships are available for youth that can’t afford the annual fee.

The club offers homework assistance, computers for doing school work, and various character building programs. It also offers a variety of recreation games, sports leagues, arts classes, or simply a safe place to spend time with friends.

The club has stepped up its homework assistance and tutoring by securing volunteers with specific expertise in various subjects. Kids hit the computer lab to tackle school work before joining in other club activities that run the gamut from sports and arts to table games or just hanging around with friends.

The club works closely with members’ teachers and parents. They often have a representative at parent-teacher conferences so they can dial in on exactly what help a student needs. And in cases where there are single parent households and the parent can’t get off work, club volunteers will step in to meet with teachers.

Among the popular programs are the teen room, flag football in the fall, basketball in the winter, year-round karate lessons offered by Robin Taberna, and free music lessons conducted by GK Music.

The club is open Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 8 p.m.

For more information, call the club at 239.KIDS.