September 13, 2019 | Boys & Girls Club opens in Shandon

From Paso Robles Press:

SHANDON — Boys and Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast opened a club at Shandon Elementary School at the start of the school year and it’s become the place to be after school.

Nearly 70 children are registered for the after-school club and its daily average attendance is close to 50. 

“We have been at the site since the school year started and on day one we had over 60 kids enrolled,” said Jeremy Deming, chief executive officer of Boys and Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast. “We have the capacity to serve 100 and we will probably hit that in the next month or so.”

The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Shandon club on Monday, Sept. 9. Children wore red Boys and Girls Club t-shirts and took photos with representatives from must! charities, the Shandon Joint Unified School District, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast staff and board members. San Luis Obispo County Supervisor John Peschong thanked everyone for their hard work. 

Deming cut the ribbon and later accepted a symbolic large check from must! charities for $150,000. Deming explained that the school district also contributed $150,000 to the Shandon club. The funds will sustain the club for three years of operation.

“It’s a momentous occasion,” Demming said. “We have been working with must! charities, and our operations and the Shandon school district for about a year in planning for this. So when the new school year approached we went back to must! charities a couple of months ago and said ‘it needs to happen now or never’ and they came through.”

Boys and Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast operates 12 clubs in five cities, including Paso Robles, Atascadero and now Shandon.

“We have always wanted to serve this community out in Shandon,” said Becky Gray, executive director of must! charities. “It is one of the reasons must! charities got started because we knew the farthest-reaching parts of our communities were getting the least amount of services and they were the ones that deserve it the most. We are stoked for this opportunity.”

The Boys and Girls Club has one classroom on the Shandon Elementary School campus and the school district allows them to use two others, including the cafeteria.

The main classroom is used mostly by children in the fifth grade and up, said Shadon Site Director Elizabeth Gonzalez. The cafeteria and Room 2 are used for the younger kids. Room 2 has a sizable play area for the younger children attached to it.

The club is open to children Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and Wednesday, which is an early release day for the school, the club is open from 1 to 6 p.m.

“We all meet up here in the cafeteria after school, all the kids know to go here,” Gonzalez said. “They sign in and get a snack. We do snack for about 20 minutes and then we do power hour which is homework time and then after that we break into groups. Eventually, at the end of the day, we all meet up in the main club room.”

Deming said unlike other school sites, Shandon’s site will be open year-round.

“Shandon is special because there are no other youth development agencies that serve kids during the summer months,” Deming said. “Before we ever signed the agreement with the school district, we talked with must! charities and said ‘this has to be a year-round project or it is no good.’ Again, must! charities stepped up to the plate and said ‘yes you are absolutely right we have to serve kids year-round.’”

In addition to a summer program, the club has winter and spring break camps. The cost for a child to be in the club for an entire school year is $50. Hardship scholarships are available.

Gonzalez is happy to see the club in Shandon and enjoys working with children.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Gonzalez said. “Every day is a different story. It’s cool to be able to offer something for these kids.”

The Shandon Boys and Girls Club is located at 301 S. 1st St., Shandon. For more information, call 805-922-7163 or visit online