REEDLEY – After six months of planning, searching and renovating, the Reedley Boys and Girls Club has a new home.
Reedley city leaders joined staff from the Boys and Girls Clubs (BGC) of Fresno County to celebrate the grand opening of the new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour of the facilities on Aug. 28. President and CEO of the Fresno County BGC Diane Carbray expressed her excitement with the new location and gratitude toward the community, and said she was proud of how everything came together.
“We think this is a perfect location for the new club,” Carbray said. “Kids can walk here right after school, they have a great new place where they can enjoy our computers, get their homework completed, meet their friends, hopefully play a game of pool and have some fun.”
Carbray said the new location at the intersection of 11th Street, East Avenue and North Avenue is three times the size of the previous space in the Reedley Community Center. The club had to vacate the community center in February to allow city services to expand. They took over the new location on June 1 and spent the past few months completing renovations and getting everything ready, Carbray said.
In addition to its size, Carbray said the new location is perfect because it is across the street from both Grant Middle School and Lincoln Elementary School, and is nearby Reedley High School. The club has a computer lab, small kitchen, multiple rooms for different age groups and entertainment and work spaces.
Kathryn Weakland, vice president of development for the Fresno County BGC, also announced a $50,000 donation provided by Karen Musson, CEO of the Gar and Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation.
“Once again, Reedley did it. I’m so proud of the community that I grew up in and I still call home,” Musson said. “Everyone here is so dedicated to keeping the Reedley spirit.”
Carbray said that the club has put together a campaign committee to work on raising funds to pay for the new location so that they can keep the club there for many years. The committee members include co-chairs Carol Isaak and Jose Plascencia, Musson, Erik Valencia and Kay Nurmi DiMuro.
Part of the mission of the Boys and Girls Clubs is to provide a safe space for children ages 6 to 18 after school, and for more community youth to be able to access the club location is important to its leaders.
“This is a very special place that kids will have after school,” Musson said. “It’s a safe place, and it’s a place they know they can always come to when there’s no one at home.”
Jazmine Arceo, unit director for the Reedley club, said the turnout for the ribbon cutting shows what Reedley is all about, “which is being there for your community. She said the club has a new vision as they move into the new space.
“We want to open our doors to a lot more youth in our community, because I know a lot of our youth don’t have a safe place to go after school,” Arceo said. “Today … we welcome these kids to be part of our programs, to enable them to be bright and wonderful citizens and to really harness their futures.”
Boys and Girls Clubs aim to provide children with academic support and teach them how to live a healthy lifestyle, have good character and be a good citizen, according to their website. Annual club memberships cost $5 for youth ages 6-18 and $1 for public housing and Section 8 residents.