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Police Chief’s Foundation supports Boys & Girls
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Manteca Police Chief Jodie Estarziau plays foosball with Boys & Girls Club members on Thursday.

Manteca Police Chief Jodie Estarziau knows firsthand how valuable it is for the community to have a place such as a Boys & Girls Club to provide not only a safe haven for youth but to instill qualities that will help reduce future crime.

“We support the Boys & Girls Club because they directly impact kids in a positive way to be better to benefit them and the community,” Estarziau said.

Estarziau backed up her words Thursday with a $2,500 donation from the Manteca Police Chief’s Foundation to help cover costs for the organization’s teen room at the Boys & Girls clubhouse at 545 Alameda St.

Estarziau said the club is a perfect fit for the foundation’s objective of “saving one child at a time.”

Among other youth related endeavors the Police Chief’s Foundation supports include Academy scholarships, the adoption of a family apartment at the HOPE Family Shelter, Second Harvest Food Bank that provides Food for Thought for kids, an annual bicycle rodeo, shopping for clothes and toys for underprivileged kids at Christmas, and Junior Crime Scene Investigation and Junior Police Academy programs among others. The foundation also helped reinstitute the department’s Manteca Police Academy.

The foundation’s only fundraiser is the Policeman’s Ball that takes place this year on Sept. 22.

Manteca Police and their employee organization have supported the club in various ways since it opened its’ doors 40 years ago. That help has been in the form of financial support, serving as volunteer coaches, helping run programs for youth, and serving on the board among other things.

At one point, retired police chief Charlie Halford stepped in a few years back to serve as executive directors at reduced pay. Halford continues to play key roles in supporting the club that reaches 1,600 youth a year whether it is helping with tech issues or building related concerns or playing a key role in organizing the annual crab feed.

Numerous and ongoing success stories have earned the continued support of those in law enforcement. Over the years there have been cases where judges have given wayward youth headed toward the life of gangs the option of becoming an active member of the Boys & Girls Club to turn their lives around or being put into the system. The many success stories included one youth who not only got away from gang influences but was the first in his family to graduate high school as well as college before going on to serving as a supermarket manager while raising a family.

Other success stories don’t reflect such a major turnaround but nevertheless show the club makes a difference whether it is keeping youth out of trouble after school, diverting their energy into productive pursuits, help with homework that has led to some being the first in their families to graduate high school, and slew of other positive outcomes.

When the clubhouse was open for a year at the Alameda Street location, the police department at the time reported a drop in juvenile crime for neighborhoods within walking distance approaching 60 percent.

About the club

The club serves youth in first through 12 grades who are ages 6 to 18. Membership that includes all activities is 

The membership price of $60 a year comes down to $1.15 a week.  Youth from low-income families  qualify for free scholarships.

The fee covers all offerings including karate lessons from longtime instructor Robin Taberna twice a week.

The club offers homework assistance, computers for doing school work, and various character building programs. It also offers a variety of recreation games, dance classes, 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.

During the school year the club is open Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 7 p.m. and some school holidays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours change in the summer.

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

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email