BRAWLEY — On a good day 50 to 60 kids come streaming into the Boys & Girls Club building in Brawley where they play on an indoor basketball court, hang out or do homework in a separate room.
But Sara Sanders, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Imperial Valley, said the organization is looking to broaden its reach beyond Brawley.
“Our ultimate goal is to have a Boys & Girls Club in cities in the Imperial County,” Sanders said. “There seems to be a demand for it.”
An effort is under way to expand the availability of the clubs by opening centers throughout the Imperial Valley, Sanders said.
To meet that effort Boys & Girls Club leaders are trying to gauge what the interest is among school districts and cities in the county to have the organization provide programs for youth, said Steve Benson, president of the Boys & Girls Club board of directors.
Holtville is the only city that has so far indicated it would be interested in providing something with the Boys & Girls Club for its summer youth program, Benson said.
School districts in Calexico, Imperial and the McCabe Union School District also expressed an interest in partnering up with the civic organization, Benson said.
“Yes, that’s the goal,” Benson said of the expansion effort.
Notable personalities who benefitted from and are members of the Boys & Girls Club include actor Denzel Washington, athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee and retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark.
Providing funding for Boys & Girls Club programs for children in the county is an issue, Benson explained.
“We don’t have additional funding to do that so we’re looking at what communities or companies or organizations there are to assist us in funding,” Benson said.
Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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