At Boys & Girls Clubs, we open our doors every day to help the youth of our community who need us the most–and that spirit and dedication to Sonoma County has never been more pronounced than when our community is reeling from the chaos and trauma of fires.
Last month, as the Kincade fire burned close to the city borders of Healdsburg and Windsor, we decided it was our obligation to provide a safe space for the youth in our community who were experiencing the cumulative impact of multiple traumas. We understand that our work is never more important than when our kids come to us in distress. Schools were closed, parents needed to return to work, and kids need positive activities.
Our Healdsburg club opened their doors from 8am until 5 pm to any children who needed a place to go. We provided this opportunity at no cost to our members. Ultimately, we averaged almost 60 kids daily until schools safely opened. What they found was a safe space to engage with other youth and take their minds off the world around them. They even were able to participate in a healthy cooking program – with food provided by community partners. Importantly, Windsor families who saw their home clubs closed due to smoke damage were also welcomed to join the fun.
Our club in Geyserville also opened their doors for 10 hours daily in the immediate aftermath of the fire, and helped calm the nerves of over 50 youth per day. In Geyserville, our kids had access to social and emotional support from the Sonoma County Chaplin. Additionally, the Sonoma County Office of Education brought their Mobile Learning Lab and helped kids make their own flashlight, construct skeleton puppets for Halloween, create tile magnets, and bling out their sunglasses. Youth were also presented with a special treat – after a particularly “ruff” few weeks, Paws As Loving Support (PAWS) walked their assistance dogs through the club to comfort our youth.
Though we were unable to access federal funds, we provided breakfast and lunch so that the last thing our kids had to think about was the grumbling of their stomachs.
total, this response cost our organization nearly $23,000. We are currently
seeking support to help cover this unplanned cost. We know when our community
needs each other the most, we pull together and take care of our most
vulnerable. We were honored to do our part for the community we love so much.
1400 North Dutton Ave. Ste. 24
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Phone: (707) 528-7977
Fax: (707) 528-7933
Tax ID# 68-0309534