Boys & Girls Club of Chico
The Boys & Girls Club of Chico has become a “campus” of sorts over the last few years. The clubhouse at the corner of 6th and Wall streets is home to activities for younger kids, while teens await the renovation of the former Towne Carpet warehouse at 628 Wall Street into a teen center and gymnasium. Meanwhile, out back at the administrative building on E. 7th Street, you’ll find the club’s computer lab and kitchen.
Spread out as things are, the Boys & Girls Club board recognized there was a need to ensure excellent communication between staff members at these various locations. Whether it’s to find a child if a parent calls or to respond to an emergency, the use of two-way radios, or walkie-talkies, seemed like an ideal, proactive solution.
“It’s our mission to be a safe place. To be able to have constant communication with staff ensures that, and that’s why the walkie-talkies are such a big need of ours,” explained Area Director Rashell Lanham.
The money for the 14 radios—about $3,100—came from a grant from the Chico Police Officers Association (CPOA). An incorporated non-profit organization, the CPOA was formed in 1972 as a labor organization to represent police officers, sergeants, public safety dispatchers and community service officers.
According to Chico police officer and CPOA President T.A. Moore, the Chico Police Officers Association sponsors an annual circus in order to raise funds for charitable purposes. The organization focuses on supporting children’s groups, with particular attention paid to ways to reward kids who demonstrate good citizenship.
“This is a perfect fit for what we do. I like these kids,” Moore said of the Boys & Girls Club members. “They want to do something that’s not destructive or illegal or questionable. They’re here for positive things. We’re going to be indirectly helping the system that allows them to further their desire to be good kids.”
Moore said while the kids might not recognize the benefit of the radios, the police officers who approved the grant certainly can.
“It’s not hard to see the need for them. We experience it every day because we carry them. We know that when our radios don’t work right the process breaks down real quick.”
The Chico Police Officers Association has given away $120,000 over the last 20 years to dozens of Butte County organizations. Moore asks that any requests for funding be made in writing to the CPOA in care of the Chico Police Department.
While safety is a top priority at the Boys & Girls Club, a recent survey reveals that it must already be doing a good job.
Chico State’s Psychology Department released a study last month based on interviews with parents of Boys & Girls Club members. The survey found that 100 percent of respondents feel their kids are safe at the Boys & Girls Club and would recommend the club to other families. The survey also found that 100 percent of parents believe their children have formed new friendships at the club and 87 percent have noticed a positive change in their kids’ self-confidence.
All in all, the Boys and Girls Club serves about 1,000 youth between the ages of 6 and 18 each year. Each day, on average, 120 kids make use of the facilities. Thirty different schools are represented in the club’s membership.
Club members pay $10 per year to enjoy use of the facilities, even though the cost to run the club is approximately $500 per year per child. The Boys & Girls Club of Chico receives 70 percent of its funding from the local community. Donations are always welcomed.