Lack of affordable after-school child care options is a harsh reality for families nationwide, and a source of great frustration and anxiety for many Pacific County residents. Figuring out what to do can entail curtailing work schedules, to the detriment of employed parents and employers. Children can find themselves in circumstances that are neither fun nor fulfilling.

It’s important to note that Boys & Girls Clubs aren’t really intended to serve as after-school day care. All the same, that’s part of the service they end up providing, in the form of safe, productive and pleasant supervision of children who otherwise might not have particularly good options between the end of the school day and the time that parents and guardians can pick them up.

So it was with real dismay that many learned of the sudden closure of the Peninsula’s Boys & Girls Club. A scramble was on for alternatives. It’s fair to say that for a lot of families, satisfactory solutions are yet to be found.

It is too soon to declare the club dead — in fact, it remains on life support, awaiting a response from our community now that we are aware of its precarious finances. It will take a significant — but achievable — commitment of funds to restore it to financially viability. This is an effort worth making.

To assist in helping the club make its case for support, what follows is an explanation from supporters about what happened and potential next steps:

•••

As you may have seen in the Observer over the past couple of weeks, there’s been a lot of buzz about the closure of the local Boys & Girls Club. During these weeks, key community members and the board have come together in hopes to reopen the club. Several things are in the works to keep those hopes alive. In order for the club to reopen its doors, the community needs to know what it will take.

On Dec. 3, there will be a Boys & Girls Club Community Forum to obtain input on what is needed in an after school program as well as a discussion about what it will take to keep the club open. It will start at 6 p.m. at the Pacific County Building, 7013 Sandridge Road.

The Boys & Girls Club Board is currently rolling out their annual business and end-of-year campaigns in order to get the immediate funds needed to reopen and to procure ongoing monthly pledges to create a steady influx in donations.

The annual operating cost for the club in the 2018-19 school year (Sept. 1, 2018 to June 14, 2019) was just over $197,000 with an average daily attendance at 63. Using these numbers, it cost more than $3,000 to send one child to the club for the year. While the club receives grants from many generous foundations and corporations, rarely do grants cover “operating costs,” such as staff salaries, internet services, and other monthly costs. This is where the community needs to step in.

Currently there is a fund called “The Martha and Mya After-school Fund,” managed by South Pacific County Community Foundation, and it needs to reach $100,000 in order for the funds to be released for use. If the fund does not reach its goal by the end of the year, the donations will be reimbursed. The fund currently sits at $20,000.

In addition to reaching the $100,000 in the Martha and Mya Fund, there needs to be an additional $100,000 in donations and monthly pledges from community members and businesses that will help support the club into the future — for example, a pledge of $10 per month or a $500 per year. Any sized donation will help keep the hopes of reopening alive.

To donate or make a pledge:

For credit card donations and monthly pledges, visit www.longbeachbgc.org/donate

Checks can be mailed to PO Box 1172, Long Beach, WA 98631.

To donate to the Martha and Mya After-school Fund, visit https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1060

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