The Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante Evolves

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A look at how the club is transitioning to have an even greater impact.

By Matt Larson

For those of you who have children frequenting the Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante, aka “The Positive Place For Kids,” and have gotten word that they may be selling their facility, the word is true—but! May your concerns be superseded with excitement as they plan to remain fully operational throughout the move and have some awesome innovations planned as well.

Earlier this year the club was approached by the Richmond Moose Lodge and soon entered contract to sell the building for $3.1 million—quite a nest egg that could do a lot for the community via the Boys & Girls Club. While the deal is scheduled to close near the end of the year, we’ve been assured that they’ll remain open at their current location through January 2017. Currently they’re in active pursuit of a new location.

“It’s our intent to continue to have a physical presence in El Sobrante,” confirms Lorna Padia Markus, Treasurer and Interim Acting Executive Director for the Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante. “In addition to that physical presence, it’s also our intent to partner with other organizations that have facilities and want to augment their program.”

The plan is to connect with other nonprofits remotely as well as keeping a permanent location for the kids. “Our goal is to try and bring services to where the kids are,” said Markus. “A year from now, in an optimal situation, we would have a physical location in El Sobrante to provide club-based services, and we would have 4-5 satellite sites that are providing services in the community, collaborating and partnering with other youth-serving organizations.”

As running a nonprofit organization can be quite costly with limited resources, the club has realized they can optimize their impact on the community by joining forces with likeminded organizations such as Richmond Parks and Rec, Richmond Community Foundation and other local Boys & Girls Club chapters. “Our evaluation and the conclusions that we came to last fall was that the model of solely servicing kids at a club-based site was not necessarily the best model for serving kids in our community,” said Markus, and it seems others agree. “Every single potential partner we’ve talked to has been extraordinarily excited about this concept.” At this writing they’re already in active discussions with Richmond Parks and Rec to provide teen programming at the Parchester Community Center.

“We believe that in order to best serve youth in West Contra Costa that we need to bring services to facilities near schools,” said Markus. “Even though many grammar schools have After School Education & Safety programs, there are also wait lists at these schools, so they’re not able to serve all the kids that need after-school services.” The Boys & Girls Club plans to help fill that void.

They’ve also uncovered an area where services are seriously lacking for students. “We’ve spoken to the school district and identified that one of the underserved populations are the middle schools,” said Markus. “While grammar schools have after-school programs, high schools have athletic programs, there’s not a lot of after-school programs for the middle-school kids. So again—our goal is to try and bring services to where the kids are.”

Markus assures us that there will be no gaps of inactivity throughout this transition, and now is actually a great time for your child to join the club. This fall, in partnership with El Sobrante Rotary, they’re rolling out a Lego Robotics program, teaching kids how to write code, how to build their own robots, and much more. They’re also launching a mentoring program for children ages 10-13 to meet with adult professionals in order to learn about different career opportunities to start peaking their interests. Plus, their Junior Warriors basketball league is also continuing! At only $25 for the entire school year, this club is certainly worth considering. For more information call (510) 223-5253 or visit

http://www.bgcelsobrante.org to get all the details and get your child involved!

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