Capstone 1

The Boys and Girls Club: Thriving on the Westside

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The Santa Barbara United Boys and Girls Club on the Westside is in need of volunteers and is looking for student volunteers with a desire to interact with children. The Boys and Girls Club is a safe and fun after school retreat for over 120 kids until their parents are able to come pick them up at the end of the day.

The Boys and Girls Club could greatly benefit from more volunteers, and even a few interns. Students from all majors and backgrounds, whether it be Music, Sociology, Kinesiology, Spanish or Education, are needed for working with kids who need help in many different areas at this facility.

Additionally, volunteers are needed in assisting with interactive sports programs, homework help, the garden club and educational resources like “Smart Girls” and “Passport to Manhood.”

“Challenge yourselves to stretch beyond getting involved on campus,” said Jon Young, Club Director at the United Boys and Girls Club on the Westside. Young formerly served as a Resident Director at Westmont in Clark Hall.

“We want to encourage students to do great work off campus and in the community,” said Young.

Young began his position at the United Boys and Girls Club this summer and has many ideas to improve each program for every age group. The Club serves kids from age 5 through teenagers.

The Boys and Girls Club starts the day with getting kids set up in a “Power Hour,” where they will sit down and do their homework for the afternoon. Kids are encouraged to participate in monitored sports put on by the programs or various other activities. Activities are tailored to age.

The Boys and Girls Club offers a wide variety of activities including an outdoor vegetable garden, an open multi-purpose room where kids can play pool, foosball, ping pong, and air hockey, a music studio with recording equipment and a variety of instruments, a study room for “Power Hour,” an arts and crafts area, a small library, a teen room ,a sports gym and access to the public park just next to the facility.

There is also a computer room with over a dozen Apple desktops, which provide internet access to all community members, adults and kids alike.

Cynthia Toms, Westmont’s Director of Global Education, has been encouraging students to interact outside Monticeto to have a positive influence on Santa Barbara’s community, especially in areas that have a multicultural atmosphere.

“Some people come in and volunteer for five hours, and think they have made a lasting impact,” said Toms. “The best way to influence these kids is to be involved and deliver something that is useful for these programs at the Boys and Girls Club that needs more than a brief period of time.”

Toms says that a desire that the Global Education Department has is: “to be able to have students work locally with programs in the area that transcend nation-state boundaries, in regards to working with people who live in Santa Barbara who are from all over the world.”

Toms emphasized the importance of young people going out into communities and giving enough time every week or every month to make a positive change.

Contact Santa Barbara United Way Boys and Girls Club for more information on how to volunteer and get involved in programs for youth on the Westside.

Give them a call at (805) 966-2811 or stop by sometime at 602 West Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. Ask to talk to Jon Young if you want to know how to become a regular volunteer or email him at


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