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Boys and Girls Club now ‘The Club'
After school program in fiscal trouble
BARSTOW • After 12 years, a lack of finances has led the Barstow Boys and Girls Club to take down their sign affiliated with the organization. Although they are still operating as an after school program.
“The Board of Directors is currently deciding a path to take,” Board President Mike Lewis said. “We’re still serving kids and we’re trying to see what we can do.”
According to Lewis, the Boys and Girls Club affiliation requires the club have $150,000 a year in the bank to operate and finances have been short for the past six years.
Lewis said the program is still serving 50 to 60 kids daily with homework help, providing physical activities like basketball and hopscotch, and computer games. However it’s uncertain how long the program will last.
“It’s very apparent there are financial problems,” Lewis said.
While rumors have circulated that the City of Barstow may step in, city officials said that wasn’t the case. The city owns the building as it was previously owned by the Fire District and that is the extent of their involvement, City Manager Curt Mitchell said.
“If they do stop operations, then we will see how we can use that facility for our recreational purposes,” Mitchell said.
The Boys & Girls Club have provided services to Barstow kids since Oct. 1999 and was a project inspired by Councilman Rich Harpole and City Treasurer Mike Lewis.
“My dad was working on the streets, he was a police officer, and gang members would come up to him and say there’s nothing for kids to do in Barstow,” Anne-Shirley Schreiner, the Club’s Executive Director and daughter of Harpole said.
Schreiner said she’s been involved in the club since she was 4, helping to raise funds alongside her parents in its beginnings.
“They said it would take us five years to open and it took us three-and-a-half,” she said.
As executive director and a former participant, Schreiner said the club’s impact in the community is tremendous.
“We’ve been doing this for so many years and have reached out to so many kids,” Schreiner said.
One of her most memorable experiences was watching a troubled child who was kicked out of every school in the Barstow Unified School District, become a responsible and goal-oriented high-schooler.
“He told me he was good for nothing and all he was good for was a jail cell,” she said. “I was working with him and by the time he left he was talking about what college he wanted to attend.”
“The Club” is open five days a week for kids ages 6 to 18 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.