By Jennifer Kramer
It only takes a few seconds after stepping into the Boys & Girls Club of Rosarito to feel the excitement and positive energy of the kids quietly buzzing around. I’ve arrived during free time and the boys and girls are playing games with volunteers, working on their homework, having a snack, playing chess, and working on art projects.
Rosy Torres, the wonderfully hands-on President of the Boys & Girls Club of Rosarito, is giving me a tour of the facility and is a magnet for the children. They run up to her to tell her about their day at school, show her their latest artwork, and shower her with hugs. It’s a happy place full of children who seem to recognize how lucky they are to be there. There are 84 kids (ages 6-16) who are registered to the Boys and Girls Club of Rosarito. About 50 of them come each day to the club after school where they focus on academics, human development, arts, culture and sports. It gives the kids a productive chance to supplement their schooling and exposes them to opportunities they wouldn’t normally have. All while keeping them off the streets and out of trouble.
Rosy has three goals for the club: the first is to have all of the children speaking English, the second is to develop a stellar reading program, and the third is to create future athletes. They are currently working hard toward all of these goals. The kids practice English with American volunteers, and learn with Rosetta Stone on donated computers. They partner with the local Friends of the Library to increase literacy and get the kids reading at high levels. Volunteers teach the kids sports such as soccer, baseball, track & field, tennis, basketball, and cycling all with donated equipment and borrowed fields.
In addition to those programs, the kids have workshops in areas such as nutrition, self-esteem, gardening, environmentalism, and music lessons (they have a wonderful collection of donated instruments which includes harps, guitar, cellos, trumpets and violins. Rosy has dreams of starting a children’s symphony).
The Boys & Girls Club is currently in a borrowed space, but they are in the process of building a new facility for the kids on the north side of town. They’ve completed the first phase of construction, but they are still working to raise the funding for the next phases. The new facility will have the capacity to help 600 children.
Before the kids line up to head off to their workshops, they pose for a photo. Smiling, laughing, waving, cheering – happy about life and the opportunities that lie ahead of them.
How you can help:
1. Donate Money: It all goes to helping the children and keeping the club going by providing food, equipment and programming. You can easily donate using paypal on their website.
2. Construction for the new facility: Buy a brick, buy a room, have the new gymnasium named after you. It’s all in the name of helping the kids.
3. Volunteer: The program is run 99% by volunteers. If you’re in Rosarito, you can volunteer to help with the kids at the club. You don’t need to speak Spanish and they’re very flexible with times and commitment levels.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Rosarito, or for ways to help out, please visit: www.clubrosarito.org