Ventura Boys & Girls Club nearing teen center reopening

VCCAR members present check to Peter McClintock with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura was forced to close its facility in West Ventura in June over a dispute with the Ventura Unified School District over state grant requirements. Since then, club officials have been scrambling to find an alternate facility where they can reopen their teen center as a first step in reopening the entire club – a fixture in the low-income neighborhood since 1968.

Those efforts took a giant leap forward this month when the Young Professionals Network (YPN) of the Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors donated $10,032.89 to the Boys & Girls Club – the proceeds of its wildly successful fundraising auction in August.

“We were so surprised at how much we received. It was a godsend,” said Peter McClintock, the club’s director of resource development. “The YPN group was so much fun to work with and they’re really focused on helping the community. We are so grateful.”

Patti Birmingham, the club’s CEO, said reopening the teen center is extremely important as it provides mentoring and support for teens who otherwise would have too little of either.

“Most of their parents are working two jobs at the least, and most of the parents can’t really help them with their homework,” she said. “The teens’ experiences are limited – lots of kids in that end of town haven’t even been to the beach. And that can lead to a lot of bad choices in a dangerous environment. They need a safe space and mentoring to get through middle school and high school and into a job or a career.”

Birmingham added that they are close to closing a deal and have set an ambitious date of Nov. 1 to open. At worst, they are confident the center will be open by the end of the year and expect to have between 80 and 100 teen members. The donation will be applied to the start-up costs.

The group reached out to Jack Dyer, owner of Topa Topa Brewing, who has a long track record of helping with fundraisers, and he immediately agreed to host the auction and to contribute a portion of the proceeds to the club.

While the auction proceeds will greatly benefit the teen center opening, the club is still looking for additional support for ongoing operational costs and to reopen programs for younger children. For more information, contact Peter McClintock at (805) 641-5585.

VCCAR is a professional trade association of nearly 2,000 licensed real estate agents in western Ventura County, including the cities of Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Santa Paula, Fillmore and Port Hueneme.

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