STRATHMORE – Five years ago the Strathmore Boys & Girls Club opened to provide an afterschool program for the children of the rural town thanks to the support of local donors and volunteers. Last week, those same groups were served by the same children they set out to serve.
On May 14, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias celebrated five years of the Strathmore club by inviting support-ers and friends an Open House—consisting of food, Club tours, guest speakers, and family fun. On the evening of the Open House, Club members happily took leadership roles by cleaning up, and setting up decorations. They greeted guests and toured them around the Club. Their goal was to familiarize supporters with their site, staff, and daily activities. Members are particularly proud of their beautiful and rich garden, made possible by the Lowe’s Heroes Project. The last stop on the tour was a BBQ meal, served with homemade sides and fresh lemonade. The community sat down alongside one another for dinner as the program began.
Oscar, a Strathmore Club member, had stated “I feel comfortable coming to the Club if I need help with any-thing, whether it be about family or homework.”
That is the goal of the Club, to provide a stable, safe place for youth to be themselves. The idea of a Club in Strathmore came about when locals recognized the need for after school programming for kids and teens in the area. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias, in collaboration with the Strathmore Community Action Team (CAT), raised funds in order to make this Club a reality. As a result, the Club opened its doors on June 8, 2014. Thanks to the support of Grace Bible Fellowship Church, the Club has been able to serve youth in an ideal location—directly across the street from Strathmore Elementary School. To this day, both the CAT and Church play a huge role in the flourishing of the Club, fundraising and volunteering all year-round. Initially, the Club averaged 8 members in daily attendance—now the daily average is 25.
“The community of Strathmore supports each other, like no other,” said Lynn Dodds, director of development for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias. “Thank you for investing in our community—we need your ongoing support.”
The Strathmore Club is open from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday during the school year and noon to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday over the summer. The Strathmore club offers Board Game Club, Fit Challenge, Garden Club, swimming, soccer, basketball, and Summer Night Lights. As stated by Area Director Mat Keel, the vision is to “help young men and women learn skills they can use throughout their lifetime.”
If you have a child or know of one who would like to join the Club, please visit www.bgcsequoias.org/ourclubs for more information. Membership only costs a family $15 per year, but it costs $500 a year to provide services for one child. If you would like to join the cause by volunteering or donating, please visit the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias website at www.bgcsequoias.org.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias is focused on helping all young people, especially those who need us most, to become responsible, caring and productive members of society. Boys & Girls Clubs were established in Tulare County in the 1990s when Exeter and Visalia community leaders responded to the need for a positive place for local youth to spend free time after school. Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias serves 1,000 kids per day at 14 clubs throughout Tulare County. Clubs provide a wide span of activities for local youth, varying from STEM to sports. www.bgcsequoias.org.