SAN BENITO — For the past couple of years, the Boys and Girls Club of San Benito has been in danger of closing its doors indefinitely.
The problems stemmed from various issues, including lack of funding, lost programs and dropping member numbers.
But all that has changed. With new leadership comes a new and positive change.
The club is no longer in danger. It actually appears to be doing quite well.
The change is due in large part to the dedication of a former member, Liz Chavez, who is now Boys and Girls Club Board president.
Last week, Chavez visited with the San Benito Chamber of Commerce and discussed all the positive things that are happening at the club.
Her love for the Boys and Girls Club started in 1990.
“I used to be a member,” she said.
After being a member for about 10 years, Chavez became a summer employee as a teen.
“It was a big thing back then. They had a full working board, 300 kids attending,” Chavez said. “That was my home. The Boys and Girls Club was a big staple in the community and I was always there.”
She soon started working for the county, ending her time with the club. After 16 years of working for the county, Chavez saw the club was in danger of closing and wanted to do something.
So last April, she became a board member. Just recently she became president, solidifying her mission to rebrand the club she loves so much.
“I feel like I owe so much back to the Boys and Girls Club,” She said.
The first item on her agenda was to obtain a full working and healthy board.
The club currently has a working board of 10. The members range from school district leaders, city leaders, attorneys, law enforcement and health professionals.
Since its incorporation in 1976, every recreation program was conducted at the club. However, with troubles over the past few years, the club has lost most of those programs to the city.
“It’s our goal to get all the recreation programs back and running through the Boys and Girls Club,” Chavez said. “We are in talks with the city to get them back.”
Chavez assures the community, the organization is headed in the right direction.
As of right now, the club is set for the next year of operation because of the private and grant funding they receive.
The stability of the club is most important to Chavez, who currently writes the grant applications herself.
In keeping with the mission to upgrade the club, plans to renovate the building on Stookey Road are currently on the agenda.
Within the next two years, Chavez plans to renovate the building with the help of a $1 million grant they hope to receive.
“It’s all for the kids,” she said.