EDINBURG - Gabriel De la Garza gets to learn code and program robots. Emily Montoya has a place to grow her leadership skill through the Jr. Staff program and Juliana Hernandez explores the outdoors through nature field trips.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg RGV is serving 847 kids this summer with an average daily attendance of 471, and each one is getting something out of it, according to the Chief Executive Officer Sabrina Walker Hernandez.
“We offer a holistic approach to youth development and want the kids to be able to take what they receive here and put it back into the community,” said Walker-Hernandez.
Along with field trips, Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Labs, gardening, folk lifeFriday and a host of other activities and events, Walker- Hernandez said the Boys & Girls Club also teaches its kids other life skills such as financial literacy and how to make healthy and smart food choices.
Guest speakers from the community are brought in to talk about character-building, employment skills, and general mentoring.
“We offer a lot of different things and have a diverse staff because everyone learns in different ways from different people,” Walker-Hernandez said. “Kids respond differently based on economic or family background. But we have people here who understand the different positions that many of our kids are in. This keeps them from being at home without supervision or under the care of relatives or siblings. We feed them breakfast and lunch every day, and we tell them to think of this as a second home.”
Eight-year-old Thomas Perez enjoys the fun place while Briana Garcia said she loves the field trips.
“I don’t get to do a lot with my family, and here I gone to the ice rink and the nature centers,” Garcia said. “I get to go with my friends, have fun and go places I never get to go.”
Boys & Girls Club summer program fee is $100 (breakdown: $10.00 per week; $2.00 per day or $.020 per hour) for three months of breakfast & lunches, activities and educational fun. Also the club makes available 75 scholarships for those kids who are economically disadvantaged and 40 scholarships for children of National Guard and Army, Navy and Airforce Reserve and Active Duty families.