The Boys & Girls Clubs of El Paso have been providing El Paso children, ages 6-18, with a fun, safe and constructive environment outside of school and home since 1929. The organization began with a single club in Segundo Barrio and now operates nine locations at schools in four school districts.
With classrooms going virtual and limits on capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boys & Girls Clubs of El Paso shifted to virtual and at-home activities in order to keep kids engaged, active and healthy.
But they couldn’t have done it without volunteers from the community or donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of El Paso Fund through the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, says CEO Anthony Tomasheski.
“The Paso del Norte Community Foundation has had a big impact on Boys & Girls Club,” said Tomasheski. “For us to align with such a strong partner that has an understanding of the El Paso community and its needs has played a very significant role. We’re very proud of that partnership.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of El Paso continues to serve children in the community, not only with virtual programming, but by bagging and distributing supplies for weekly activities.
“Thankfully, we’ve had some amazing volunteers from the community who have come in to help package some of the supplies we distribute weekly in order to keep giving kids that great Boys & Girls Club experience during these difficult times,” said Tomasheski.
In September, members of the El Paso Chihuahuas and El Paso Locomotive FC organization volunteered to help bag activity kits for Boys & Girls Club children.
“The El Paso Locomotive FC and El Paso Chihuahuas want to make an impact in the community that has really embraced our organization and taken us in,” said Elizabeth Vega, marketing administrative coordinator for El Paso Locomotive FC. “El Paso is our home and our guests are our family. Being involved is really important to us, not only as an organization but also to myself, having grown up in El Paso.”
Donations, big and small, to the Boys & Girls Club of El Paso Fund also make a huge impact on the children of El Paso.
“We couldn’t do what we do for kids if it wasn’t for the big hearts of El Pasoans,” said Tomasheski. “Eight of our nine locations are free of charge. There is a $24 per year at our standalone location in Segundo Barrio. Even at that, we don’t often collect, and we never turn a child away.”
The Boys & Girls Club’s programs are now more important than ever. With many children still attending class online, it’s important for children to continue to have positive social interactions, even if they are through virtually through video conferencing or chat. Because it is still such a new experience, reinforcing positive behavior is key for their success.
Kids don’t have the opportunities they had before. We want to make sure that in this virtual world they are still having positive social interactions. It’s a new experience to participate in school virtually. Reinforcing positive behavior in a safe environment where kids can get help with homework, participate in sports, eat a healthy snack and learn about leadership can help to ensure that they are successful.
“Even $1 can change the life of a kid forever,” said Tomasheski. “Some people think, ‘I need to donate a large amount of money in order to make a difference.’ But sponsoring a child for $24 a month is a game changer. It can change a life.”
To make a donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of El Paso Fund visit, click here.