The Boys and Girls Club of the North Valley (BGCNV) fills a critical need in Oroville and surrounding communities, providing after-school social services and enrichment opportunities for low-income children and youth. About 79 percent of those served live below the poverty line and 91 percent rely on social services.
The BGCNV serves more than 2,000 youth and operate more than 10 sites throughout Glenn and Butte Counties. The Boys and Girls Clubs typically work out of spaces offered by partner schools. The space is provided; and the Boys and Girls Clubs provide staff, transportation, and programs.
A recent fire in Concow, a community about 25 miles away, forced many students to transfer to Oroville, increasing their population and pressure on services. Oroville High School asked the Boys and Girls Club to step in and help by starting up a Teen Center. There was just one issue challenging this request.
“We didn’t have anything at this location,” said Rashell Brobst, Director of Boys and Girls Club of the North Valley. “We needed to create this environment.”
In the past, the Boys and Girls Club of the North Valley received support funds from USDA Rural Development (RD) and with this new need, Brobst knew where to turn. RD provided a Community Facilities Program grant to help purchase enrichment equipment, including coding and 3D printing units, and a 10-passenger van.
The new technology purchases support the organization’s mission to encourage scientific thinking, and the students have been taking full advantage of it.
The children have been using the equipment every day since it came in, David Pena, Oroville High Site Director said.
“Technology is always advancing, and we need to make sure we can stay up to date,” he added. “This helps them with homework, STEM; and we’ve even gotten them into 3-D printing competitions.”
With the new van, the center has a broader impact with kids in the community.
“The new van has allowed us to do pick-ups and drop-offs at the children’s homes, and ensure they are safe to be dropped off,” said Pena. “With the new van, we’ve also been able to drive the kids around the area for flag football trips. It’s helped create job opportunities. We’ve been able to take them camping. This fills a huge need in this community.”
Joshua Campos, Area Director for Teen Services with the Boys and Girls Club, emphasized the new vehicle has a positive impact on the children’s sense of pride in themselves and their community.
“In the past, I’ve had issues with unreliable transportation with vehicles, driving kids around,” said Campos. “This new van helps enable a sense of self-worth in these kids and letting them know they are deserving of good things.”