Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme

VC Star – B&G clubs there for kids

Posted in General Information, Media Coverage by BGCOP Staff on December 21, 2009

By Tim Blaylock

An economic perfect storm not only raids retirement funds and bankrupts corporations, it robs children of opportunity.

Schools are slashing programs and services, and community organizations like the Boys & Girls Club that fill the voids are struggling with the same challenges that have brought whole industries to the brink of collapse. But we cannot fail our children. To do so, would imperil our entire society.

As families face greater challenges, children are left alone more often, or called upon to help their families by dropping out of school to work or care for younger children while both parents work.

Angelica, 19, was one such child. She has not had the easiest life, but she has risen above her challenges. Though she was raised by a single mother with five children and grew up in a neighborhood where drugs and gangs were prevalent, she dared to dream of a better future. At a time when most teens worry about their next math test or school dance, Angelica was deciding to drop out of school so she could work to help support her family.

Fortunately, she became a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, where she realized she had to continue with her education to be successful in life and do what’s best for her family. The club gave her the opportunity for subsidized work experience with a local small business. This gave Angelica the work experience she needed, along with skills she can use in the work force. She is enrolled at Oxnard College and is working on her associate arts degree in legal assisting, with the long-term goal of becoming an attorney. Her efforts earned her the $1,000 Dwight Brydie Scholarship.

Right now is a critical time for kids. For many, summer is a time with little or no adult interaction or supervision. These children face the threats of drugs, alcohol and teenage pregnancy. They also face being likely victims of crime or getting into trouble with the law, but the Boys & Girls Club gives them a positive path to success.

A 2008 economic impact study of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme found that the arrest rate of youths who attend the Boys & Girls Club is 4 percent, one-third the rate of Ventura County youths as a whole. For incarcerated youths who participated in the Boys & Girls Club program at the Ventura County Juvenile Justice Center, the repeat crime rate is 9 percent, while the national rate is 60 percent.

Thousands of kids each year stay out of trouble and develop positive character and leadership skills through club programs. Each year, because of generous donors, many kids are able to spend their summer days at one of our clubhouses or teen centers in Oxnard and Port Hueneme. They learn new skills and social competencies, go on educational field trips, learn to play musical instruments, play sports and, most importantly, have fun in a safe and secure place.

We are working hard to meet this economic challenge, but we need caring people to help. For local youth agencies, there are no bailouts, bonuses or second chances, just scores of children with no positive, supervised place to go during nonschool hours. Without such a place, the negative consequences are felt for decades through increased crime, increased dropout rates and higher rates of unemployment and teen pregnancy. We must protect and help the positive development of our children, our most precious and vital resource. We cannot let children slide down our list of societal priorities.

Through the Boys & Girls clubs, we can change a young person’s life with a gift of time, compassion and generosity. Some children merely need a caring adult to stand up and say: “You can do it! Failure is not an option. I believe in you!”

Every day at the clubs, children hear just that, and they experience activities that show them they have the power to create a good life for themselves and a better community for us all. No child is ever turned away from our clubs due to an inability to pay the $15-a-year membership fee.

June 11, our organization celebrated its 55th year of service. We invite everyone in the community to help celebrate by being a champion for our kids. For more information, visit us online at or contact us at 815-4959 so that together we can make a difference in the lives of more children.

— Tim Blaylock is chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

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