Carpinteria’s United Boys & Girls Club has now reopened to offer families a school day program. Members of the program take part in their school’s distance learning from the safety of the club with supplies and help from club staff. While the program currently serves 28 children, they have the capacity to serve up to 84. What’s stopping them? They need to raise scholarship money to get kids off the waiting list and into their classrooms.
The school day program runs from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering a significant amount of relief to working families who need a safe place for their children to keep up with their schools’ distance learning programs. The club also offers a free afterschool program from 3 to 6 p.m. Both programs have a staff to child ratio of 1 to 14. To serve more children, the club will also need to hire more staff, a process that has already begun, according to Carpinteria Club Director Don Hall. As of now, there are 51 kids on the waiting list. Hall expects to bring 14 more kids into the club in a new school day class on Sept. 8, but he wishes it was more. “Parents are very grateful that the program is available for their children,” he said.
To reopen the club safely, the organization worked out the details of their operating plan at the Santa Barbara Downtown Club over the summer and received “best practice” information from other Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide. They also received advice from Canalino Elementary Counselor Shanna Hargett and Aliso Elementary Counselor Bert Dannenberg. “They have been great at providing us with support and ‘how-to’ info,” said Hall.
Reopening with new pandemic-based rules has meant an adjustment process for club members and their parents, as well. Hall noted, “We’ve had to reeducate our parent and our club members about our safety protocols—wear a mask, maintain six feet of social distance and frequently wash your hands—and the fact that our programs are now enrollment based as opposed to drop-in.”
For decades, the Carpinteria Club has provided a safe space and a sense of stabil