■ Kathryn Fletcher / Contributed
The communities of San Jacinto, Idyllwild, Hemet, Valle Vista, and all surrounding areas could benefit from having a Boys & Girls Club. Yes, you heard me right, a Boys & Girls Club! Hemet kids can surely benefit from one, and it could help our children stay out of trouble and put them on track to be successful adults.
With children and youth making up roughly half of our community, it is imperative that we address them as valuable members of our society and invest in their future. As you may or may not know, the cities of Hemet, San Jacinto and Idyllwild do NOT currently have a Boys & Girls Club.
If you weren’t aware of what a Boys & Girls Club is or does, let me explain a little about it. It is a non-profit youth organization that provides children with activities and responsibilities. The purpose of clubs all around the world is to promote and enhance the development of boys and girls. This is accomplished by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and positive influence. Many prominent members of our society once belonged to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Recent statistics show that 74 percent of members ages 12-17 who regularly attend a Boys & Girls Club say they earn mostly A’s & B’s in school compared with 67 percent of youth nationally. At clubs around the world, members are thriving in multiple skill areas, including their academics. Here in Hemet, our children are often bored and resort to sitting on the couch, on the internet, or look for ways to get into trouble. Basically, the only activities for children and teens, if they’re lucky, is to go roller skating or cruise around the mall. For a regular working parent who pays rent or mortgage, forking over $20-$30 a day to go skate or watch a movie gets expensive real quick.
The great thing about the Boys & Girls Club is kids of all ages can attend and most children are eligible for membership at reduced costs (depending on family size and income). Hemet Unified simply doesn’t have the funding ability to give the enhanced after-school care that the Boys & Girls Club can and do. The current S.A.F.E. (after-school) program offered by Hemet Unified School District is more like a big room warehousing kids. And, they don’t offer immediate after-school care for kindergarteners – there is an hour and 20 minutes between the time in which your kindergartener is to be picked up from school and then brought back to the S.A.F.E. program. This situation isn’t really conducive to a working parents schedule and certainly takes a child out of the momentum of school.
My daughter Mackenzie and I are trying to gain community support to get a Boys & Girls Club out here in Hemet. We have contacted the regional Boys & Girls Club and they told us that the first step in getting a club in our town is to gain community support. This will let the regional Boys & Girls Club know that we are serious. We plan to shoot a video with the children of Hemet, San Jacinto, Idyllwild, and Valle Vista giving us their commentary for wanting a Boys & Girls Club. We want to ask the major organizations for help in assisting us to purchase a location and fund that location as well. Again, we need the support of our community to get this project up and running!
Thank you so much for your time and attention! Reach us at email@example.com or call 951-462-0030 if you would like to participate in the video or would like more information.