When you walk through the doors of the Boys and Girls Club in Manteca, you immediately feel at home. That’s because Loretta Huerta is there at the front desk, ready with a big smile.
“Loretta is the welcoming face of the Boys & Girls Club in Manteca,” remarks Jeanie Miller, Executive Director. “She greets parents and kids every day and always with a smile.”
Loretta sets the tone for the strong, supportive experience every Club member will encounter at the facility. In today’s rushed world, far too many children have nowhere to go after school lets out in the afternoon. Many of these kids are lonely and struggling with low self-esteem, while others, living in foster homes, a sense of abandonment.
At the Boys and Girls Club, they receive the attention and the validation they so crave and may not find elsewhere.
“I see a lot of kids who don’t have very much come here and being at the Club changes things completely”, Loretta says. “You get to know these kids. They love that someone cares about them and wants to know how their day went. It’s like a family. When they first come here they’re really shy and don’t want to play with anyone. I try and match then up with another kid the same age to make them feel more comfortable. I tell them this is your Club — you can play basketball or air hockey, or do something else. It’s completely up to you.”
Loretta began volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in Manteca in 2011, starting out in the Education Center, where Club members can go and work on their homework or read a book, among many other enriching activities. A full time employee for the past four years, Loretta says she loves working at the agency:
“Working at the Boys and Girls Club of Manteca is great. I think about it a lot. I actually wish I had gone to a Boys and Girls Club when I had been a kid.”
In fact, both of Loretta’s daughters are Club members.
In addition to running the front desk, Loretta serves as the Volunteer Coordinator and assists with payroll processing and membership applications. She is also in charge of the Snack Bar and supervises a team of Club members who volunteer to work in there
“Loretta is always willing to help in any way she can. She is loved by the kids and knows all their names. We are so grateful to have her working at the Club,” Miller said.
“I love my job!” Loretta noted. “Every day is something new with the kids.”