Yoli Vaughan, Joanne Beattie, and Charleen Carroll know just how important the Manteca-Lathrop Boys & Girls Club is when it comes to being a safe haven and a positive place to grow for its 1,600 youth members.
It is why they were manning phones Tuesday as they have done in previous years asking the community for donations to support the club during the annual telethon. Vaughan (Manteca Youth Focus), Beattie (Manteca Chamber of Commerce), and Carroll (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) know first-hand how the club has helped turn young lives around.
Groups such as Manteca Interact — a high school student service group — as well as Manteca Unified and United Parcel Service employees are among groups that will be making calls tonight and Thursday evening.
The telethon has been a critical key to the success of the club at 545 W. Alameda Street for more than 35 years as it is the non-profit’s largest fundraiser. The goal is to raise a quarter of the $445,000 needed to operate the club on an annual basis.
It costs $280 a year per member to keep the club open Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on school days and Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. during school breaks and summer vacation. Youth whose families can afford it pay a $60 membership. Those that can’t afford the fee are covered by scholarships provided by local service clubs such as the Sunrise Kiwanis, Manteca Rotary, and Manteca Soroptimists.
Roughly half of the money comes from grants such as Smart Moves that help teens and youths establish parameters of behavior. The rest is raised from the community.
It has a proven track record with San Joaquin County juvenile delinquency authorities who will sometimes give a kid on the edge of trouble a second chance by having them become involved in the Boys & Girls Club. The results are a testimonial to the power of the club. Many who once skated on the edge of the system are now productive adults, raising families, going to college, serving our country, working in jobs such as assistant store managers and more.
Each child who doesn’t end up in the juvenile justice system saves taxpayers $22,000 plus a year in the amount spent on supervising and keeping them as wards of the state.
But that is only a small part of the Boys & Girls Club success story. The program involves kids from ages 6 to 18 from all economic and family backgrounds. The club is a place where they can come together and grow.
Among the club’s offerings are after school tutoring, organized athletics, arts classes, karate lessons, games room fun, computer access for learning enrichment, teen activity center, prevention and mentoring programs, or just plain hanging out with friends in a safe place.
To make a pledge, contact the club at 239-KIDS (5437).
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org