Skip to Content

New plans are ahead for the downtown Santa Barbara Boys & Girls Club after a recent change

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The historic Santa Barbara downtown Boys & Girls Club has put one of its former members at the top spot. Mark Alvarado is the new Executive Director.

"This is home. When I come in here, I get emotional," said Alvarado.

He said his life was pointed in the right direction at the downtown Boys & Girls Club back in the 70s.    After a limited partnership with the United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County the site on Canon Perdido Street is back as its own club. It has a board of directors and they are hiring a new staff.

It is going to be known as "The Club" and officially the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, Incorporated.

The plan ahead is already in the works, with collaborations and proven programming.

Alvarado said they are "bringing in people who can help us with the after school program, the athletics program, the art program, the dance program, the recording program, the computer, all the different programs that we have, culinary program and really have that be a partnership driven activity so that the kids get the best, that Santa Barbara has to offer."

There is an 84 year history with many academic and sports success stories at the highest levels.

Alvarado looked over the field and said, "it happened here, and it happened in this field and it happened in the gym. This facility is the foundation for youth services in the city of Santa Barbara. So there's a lot of energy, history, legacy support behind us, continuing to develop programs and services for kids. So there's nothing really stopping us."

One of the areas where there's a hope for collaboration is in the kitchen where kids learn about cooking and also possibly go on to take courses at Santa Barbara City College's culinary program.

The computer room is getting new equipment and programs in line with the advanced classes across the street at Santa Barbara High. The board also wants to see art projects on display in the community. The education room is expected to be full every afternoon.

Alvarado said, "it is where we're going to be able to work with kids of all ages with reading, writing and math. We really wanted to be structured and robust in helping kids get that reading level up."

As the club freshens up its next chapter of a long history it is in a prime spot to welcome a variety of ages and  transitioning young adults. "You include the junior high, Ortega Park, the armory here, the high school. It's a campus unto itself," said Alvarado. "And create a space here for them so they can identify a pathway for success. And that's what the club's all about. That's what this place has always been about, is catching kids at their most vulnerable point and then getting getting them the opportunity to be the best that they can be."

To modernize the game room, more computer and video games will come in, at a time when gaming can be used to develop new skills and tech programs for the future.

The club also said it will continue to host the annual free Thanksgiving meals where hundreds have come out to celebrate the holiday together in the spirit of community.

An open house is set for the Sunday, June 23 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tri-tip sandwiches will be served.

Memberships are $25 a year and scholarships are available for those who can not afford it.

For more information go to: Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara Incorporated.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content