FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – The Boys and Girls Clubs are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year.
More than 5,000 children attend Boys and Girls Clubs in Fresno County and Oakhurst, giving children a safe place and mentoring them to succeed in the future.
A game of soccer is just one of the activities for members of the Boys and Girls Club in southeast Fresno.
“This club is like my second home, said Boys and Girls Club member Tony Leyva.
Leyva has been coming to the club for eleven years.
“Basically keeps me off the streets, I come over here boys and girls club just to play games and help the kids out,” explained Leyva.
Leyva was named youth of the year, and he’s just one of the children who has found a fun and safe place to spend time when school lets out.
“I like that I can come here after school and relax and do my arts and crafts and finish my homework and do sports and hang out with the staff,” said member Hailey Ramirez.
Hailey and her two brothers have been members since their family moved to Fresno three years ago.
The Boys and Girls Clubs serve children six to eighteen years of age.
“We offer them a safe place. We offer them somewhere to come after school, where they can get a meal, where they can play with their friends,” said Samantha Paredes.
Paredes is the director of the East Fresno Club near Sequoia Middle School.
She says in a typical afternoon, kids get help with homework, arts and crafts, and exercise.
The cost for families? Just $5 dollars for a whole year, or $1 if they live in subsidized housing.
They also learn about good character, healthy eating and fitness habits, and life lessons:
“So we try to give them tools that they may not get at home, financial literacy, how to balance a checkbook, the importance of fico scores, and what it takes to be an entrepreneur,” said Sandra Dee Chaney with the Boys and Girls Club.
Setting kids up for success, while having fun.
“I just want to tell the kids that are out there to come over here to boys and girls club because we’re all family here,” said Leyva.
The Stepping Up for Kids event is happening virtually Thursday, October 7th.