The City of Hanford’s first Boys & Girls Club will soon become a reality after the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) awarded the City a $2.45 million Proposition 64 Public Health and Safety Grant for a five-year cycle.
Proposition 64 legalized cannabis for recreational use in the State of California and set aside grant funding for projects that promote public health and safety, including youth development or youth prevention and intervention. The Hanford City Council directed City staff to apply for the Public Health and Safety Grant in November of 2022 in hopes of securing funding for more youth programs.
The Club will be based at the City-owned Coe Park building, located at 543 South Douty Street. The primary focus of the free after-school program will be substance-use prevention for Hanford middle and high school students.
“The substance-use prevention material will all be evidence-based,” said Hanford Parks and Community Services Director Brad Albert. “It’s really to promote making good choices.”
Albert added that the program will integrate various Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning opportunities for students.
“We’re going to give them hands-on experience using cutting-edge technology,” Albert said. “Hopefully that will translate into students pursuing STEM degrees and careers right here in the Central Valley.”
The City will partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias to run the after-school program. Officials with the organization say it’s an exciting new endeavor for their experienced team.
“The board and staff at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias is honored to open a Club in Hanford,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias CEO Galen Quenzer. “We currently operate 15 Clubs in Tulare County and this will be the first in Kings County. We look forward to working with City leaders, local educators, and parents to design a youth development program that meets the needs of Hanford’s youth.”
Staff from Hanford Elementary School District and Hanford Joint Union High School District have committed their support by identifying potential candidates for the program. The City will work closely with the districts to market the new opportunity to students and their families.
“Congratulations to the City of Hanford on receipt of this grant, to be used for after-school programming for 7th-12th grade students in the community of Hanford,” said Hanford Elementary School District Assistant Superintendent Jill Rubalcava. “This is great news for families and youth in Hanford.”
The City aims to launch the Hanford Boys & Girls Club next fall, and the grant is expected to fund the Club for five years. Albert said significant fundraising from community members, especially businesses, will be needed to sustain the program past the grant’s lifecycle.
Those interested in supporting the Hanford Boys & Girls Club can contact Brad Albert at [email protected].
More details about the program will be released as they become available.