January 19, 2011 | 08:38 AMDelavan — The advisory council of a new Delavan-Darien Boys & Girls Club met and organized last week
Ashley Contreras, the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Delavan-Darien School District, said the council will partner with the Janesville Boys & Girls Club and the new advisory council will answer to the Janesville board of directors.
The next step will be to find a facility where the Delavan-Darien Boys and Girls Club can meet, possibly a vacant building or space in a school.
She said the group hopes someone will donate a building.
The council would also have to develop a budget, raise funds and hire a club director and staff before a club could open, Contreras said.
Contreras said a Boys and Girls Club would be an asset to Walworth County because after-school programming opportunities are lacking.
While putting together a needs assessment for the club, Contreras found that only 15 percent of the approximately 3,000 youth in the Delavan-Darien area take part in structured after-school activities not sponsored by schools or sports teams,
Besides having so few students involved in structured after-school programming, the Delavan area has more than 60 percent of its school-aged children living near or in poverty, based on free and reduced lunch statistics within the Delavan-Darien School District, Contreras said.
"The school day ends at 2:30 p.m.," Conteras said in a telephone interview.
"The day is young. If mom and dad are working, these kids are unsupervised," she said
Students involved in the club are also less likely to join gangs or get caught up in risky or illegal activities, Contreras said.
Boys & Girls Club has two , said Contreras.
First, the kids need a safe place to go after school that's supervised.
And, second, they need a place where they can get help for with their homework. Especially, those children whose parents work at night.
Before coming to Delavan in 2007, Contreras worked with low-income families in a Madison neighborhood when a Boys & Girls Club opened nearby.
She said the club's presence had a positive impact on the children in the area.
Contreras said she believes the same could happen here.
She said the club moved into an abandoned apartment building that was donated. Since then, that community Boys & Girls Club has moved into its own building.
The club would be accessible to all youth.
Students would pay a fee of between $5 or $10 per year or less, Contreras said.
For more information about the Walworth County Boys and Girls Club, contact Ashley Contreras at (262) 949-9141, or (262) 728-2642 ext. 4511, or via e-mail at AContreras@ddschools.org.
The Boys and Girls Club of America website is www.bgca.org.