LOMPOC, Calif. – The Lompoc Police Department and the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County are teaming up once again.
“We want to target kids in specific neighborhoods to make sure we get them out of that environment and into the Boys and Girls Club,” Michael Baker, CEO of the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County.
The club and the police department are teaming up to get kids off of the streets and into places like the Boys and Girls Club.
“We really do only have one competitor for the kids and that’s gangs and we want kids to join our gang a positive environment to keep them engaged,” says Baker.
For kids like Sonya Moreno the club is like a second home. It’s the place she comes to five days a week while her parents are at work.
“I like coming here because my friends are here and because my parent’s have to work,” says Moreno.
It’s also a place she can come and interact with her peers.
“We play kickball, dodge ball, baseball and then we go outside after we are inside,” she says.
Just like her, many of the kids at the club are here while their parents are working.
“This is a positive place kids are usually stuck at home sometimes because their parents are busy with work so I say this is fun because there are a lot of kids here,” says Raymond Ochoa.
However, this is more than just a fun place. The club helps those families that can’t afford the $40 annual fee or live further away. Those kids are picked up every morning and then taken back home.
“We have to make sure that finances is not a barrier to kids joining the boys and girls club,” says Baker.
Starting at 6 tonight, the club and the police department will be leading a community walk in hopes of reaching out to more kids.
Reporter Amanda Valdes will have the full story at 5 and 6 p.m. on KCOY 12.