TULARE COUNTY – The California Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs awarded a local boys and girls club $65,000, which they plan to put towards their Social Recreation Program; a plan that will allow them to expand their resources in order to accommodate youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias (BGCS) received these funds after submitting a grant proposal based on the needs of their seven clubs, essentially outlining what they plan to do with the money.
This grant was made available after the California Alliance learned there were available funds, which they could distribute to boys and girls clubs from all over the state. Their decisions are based on the proposals submitted to them.
“They do advocacy for youth development, and Boys and Girls Clubs,” said Galen Quenzer, the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias. “They became aware of this funding that was available (and announced) a very short grant period; it’s only five months, July through November.”
The BGCS’s proposal — which included their Social Recreation Program — was “aligned with the Club’s mission to empower all young individuals, especially those facing challenges, to realize their fullest potential as responsible, productive, caring members of society,” according to their press statement.
In an interview with The Sun-Gazette, Quenzar clarified what exactly the grant money would be going towards.
“Much of the funding will be used for training for our staff, as well as allow us to develop a relationship with the Central Valley Regional Center (CVRC),” Quenzar said. “We do have (additional) money in there if — as we go along — we find out there’s some accessibility issues that we need to deal with.”
Quenzar hopes the BGCS can partner with the CVRC to give youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities a place to hangout with kids their age and engage in activities.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to provide a really valuable resource for these kids and their families,” he said. “They don’t have many outlets, many opportunities to socialize.”
Not only will the grant pay for the ability to better accommodate these kids, it will also help to cover some of the cost of the memberships for the youth who are coming over from the CVRC.
“After this grant is over, they (the CVRC) will help provide funds for these kids to come into our clubs,” Quenzar said. “Our other club members (will) really benefit as well by developing friendships with these kids who are different from them.”
The club is open to anyone ages six to 18 across the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias’ seven locations: Woodlake, Exeter, Strathmore, Farmersville, Ivanhoe, Visalia and Tulare. The fee to become a member is $15 a year, with an additional fee at the Exeter location. Learn more on their official site.