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Boys & Girls Club Revive After-School Events Online
Boys & Girls Club of Holtville, on the campus of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, was temporarily closed April 6 due to social distancing and nonessential closures due to coronavirus. Boys and Girls Club officials say they are still providing after-school programs through the Internet. | WILLIAM ROLLER PHOTO

Boys & Girls Clubs Revive After-School Events Online

HOLTVILLE — The Boys & Girls Club of Imperial Valley, including the Holtville and Brawley chapters, have revived numerous programs enjoyed at their centers through the MyFuture.net website, a club official said.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak about 45 children met daily at the Brawley campus. Attendance numbers for Holtville location at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Chestnut Avenue were not immediately available.

Tech Saves After-School Program

“MyFuture is another virtual tool members can advance their learning, socializing and play” with, said Raquel Renteria, Boys & Girls Club of Imperial Valley youth director. “It provides an online platform for club members to share media projects.”

With MyFuture, club members can take virtual field trips to Disneyland or the San Diego Zoo, two of the more popular destinations, Renteria said.

Any club member can log in once they provide the required personal information and register a password to gain access to MyFuture. The site covers a variety of computer science skills including coding, producing various media communications, photo editing, or creating web designs.

“A member might do an hour of coding, then switch to Minecraft (or other) video games that helps them learn how to develop an app,” she said. “MyFuture has other programs such as, Healthy Habits, which members learn to maintain healthy lifestyles by keeping physically active and discovering how to create a daily healthy menu.”

Old-School Hard Copy Helps, Too

For those without a computer or printer, Renteria is creating a paper packet that covers academic subjects but also guides them through a variety of crafts such as gardening activities, as well as money matters aimed to instill financial literacy.

“Shop ‘till you drop has members imagine they have $1 million to spend, but they first learn that money is taxed, which leaves them $750,000,” Renteria said. “But we want to see how practical they can be by spending the money, yet still have plenty left over while learning to distinguish between want and need. And they get scored on how well they make difficult decisions that rewards sound budgeting over rash indulgence.”

Renteria was to distribute packets the week of April 6 through April 10. Members will be assigned a time to arrive at the Brawley Club, including Holtville members, in one or two at a time to retain social distancing.

Facebook A Resource for General Info

Raquel Renteria, Boys & Girls Clubs of Imperial Valley Brawley – Unit Director

For members with Internet access, they can check out Boys & Girls Club’s Facebook page or their video posted each week with new information as well as meet-and-greet events with past members (now adults).

Parents report to Renteria they are grateful for the club’s online programs but also look forward when members can return to the club’s brick-and-mortar facilities.

Meanwhile, the club will have an Easter coloring contest for which the clubs already received donated prizes.

Also, since school has been cancelled for the remainder of the academic year, the clubs will also be closed to kids.

Safety is the number one concern and the organization will act on the direction given by local health authorities as well as Gov. Gavin Newsom to ensure children, staff, and community are safe, Misty Lee, Boys & Girls Club executive director, said.

“We have been deeply impacted by this crisis not only because we cannot serve our kids, but also financially,” said Lee. “We have been forced to cancel our upcoming fundraiser, Derby Days, which is a significant part of our budget (and the El Centro club because of a budget crunch, several years ago). We know we will survive this, as our community has been incredible in supporting our clubs and youth since 1966. We have no other option than to survive this for the sake of our kids.”

As for Renteria, as much as she enjoys designing virtual activities, she admits she liked shepherding the members one-on-one in crafts and computer science to help refine their skills. “I do miss the kids,” she said. “It’s kind of sad now as I arrive at the Brawley Club (165 S. Plaza) and I notice I no longer hear their voices as I approach. We thought of having a drive-by parade. It’s in the works. But we need to cover both the Brawley and Holtville clubs for the virtual program.”

This story is featured in the April 09, 2020 e-Edition.