Children from Madison and Cortez Elementary Schools as well as teens from Garey and Diamond Ranch high schools gather at the Boys and Girls Club of Pomona Valley after school on weekdays to get help with homework and participate in events.
About 100 members between the ages of 6 and 17 attend the club during the school year and more than 250 attend in the summer.
The Pomona Valley club, in a lower income part of town, is always looking for funding by working together with businesses.
“I feel like the community does not understand what we do,” Nancy Reyes, the Boys and Girls Club of Pomona Valley’s program director and an alumna from the University of La Verne, said.
“We are not a just a recreational center, we help academically and all together we help the kids become more well-rounded, it is a safe after school program and a home away from home.”
In 1964 Judge Carlos Teran founded the Boys and Girls Club of Pomona Valley. The mission of the club is to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.
The Boys and Girls Club of Pomona Valley is located on 1420 S. Garey Ave., an area where it is difficult for the children to lose focus of their future due to the distractions of gangs.
The community is not as involved in the club as the employees, volunteers and children need them to be.
“I think the collaboration with the community is good, but it can always get better,” Victor Caceres, executive director of the club, said.
The Boys and Girls Club gives children the chance to experience arts, physical education, academic success, and cultural activities programs.
“One of our strongest programs is the Aztec Dance program, where they learn about the culture, music, dances, outfits and how to play the drums,” Reyes said.
“Some of the kids are not so athletic and not so well in school, so this gives them an opportunity artistically and I have seen it raise a lot of kids’ self-esteem.”
Teen Director Lance Holliday also agrees that the community is not as involved and thinks it is because they do not understand what the club does for children and the things they teach the children.
“We are a part of a five based program: College bound, leadership, nutrition, mentorship and dress for success,” Holliday said.
The College Bound program has been very successful for the program leading to many of the teens attending great universities.
One of the many events the program coordinates is taking teens to visit universities. Their most recent field trip was to UCLA.
Programs like this require a lot of money and fundraisers.
One of the fundraisers that they are participating in is the Snap Raise website, which generates the proceeds for the teen’s programs.
Other businesses and programs they are collaborating with include Best Buy, Buffalo Wild Wings, Give Big San Bernardino County Donation and more.
The club has collaborated with many students from the University of La Verne who volunteer.
The employees of the club have amazing ideas, like making a football program and getting more computers, however this requires a lot of financial service.
A way the community and others can get involved is by participating in the fundraisers, placing a donation on the club’s website, bgcpv.org, or by volunteering.
“We are always accepting donations and volunteers,” Holliday said.
Autumn Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.