There’s a common misconception that children who live in more privileged areas of town don’t need after-school services provided for them.
That’s a fallacy, according to Boys & Girls Club of Henderson Chief Executive Officer Ken Rubeli .
” There are kids from all sorts of economic backgrounds who can use our services,” he said. “True, our clubs are usually found in areas of town that most people might describe as challenged or under-served, but our goal is to serve all children who need us. That means, too, that if there are kids growing up in middle-class neighborhoods who could use our services, well, then they should have access to a center.”
Such is the case in Southern Highlands. Olympia Companies, LLC, the developer of the community, has been working to raise funds to build a club for more than six years. That effort is expected to pay off in late June when a Boys & Girls Club of Southern Highlands, built from the $6 million raised, will open its doors at 10900 Southern Highlands Parkway.
“Olympia essentially had the facility built and asked us to come in and run it,” Rubeli said. “There’s a real need for something like this in the area, despite what some people might think.”
Southern Highlands is described by many valley residents as an upper-middle-class community where parents drive two nice vehicles and live in a nice house with flat-screen TVs and surround sound.
“That may be true for a lot of people who live there,” Rubeli said. “But there are also a lot of kids who have become latchkey kids because of two working parents. That’s why we’re needed.”
Rubeli said kids who go home to an empty house and have no help with homework or activities to keep their minds and bodies occupied can get into trouble.
“The time between when they get off school and the parents make it home is fragile because, not only can they find ways to get into trouble, but they are also vulnerable if they are home alone,” he said. “I know some latchkey kids who hang out at our centers in other parts of town because they are afraid to go home to an empty house.”
The 24,000-square-foot facility features a high-quality gym, a game room, computer lab, teen center, homework help center and art studio.
“We also have a community room which members of the community will be able to rent out,” he said.
The facility is scheduled to open June 27. Kids ages 6 to 18 are welcome. Club hours vary but are typically 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Annual memberships are $20, although Rubeli said no child is turned away for an inability to pay.
The center will also provide summer camps for kids of all ages. Participation is $89 per week. For more information, call 565-6569. Rubeli said kids from across the southwest valley are welcome to drop in.
“You don’t have to live in Southern Highlands to be a part of what we’re doing,” he said. “Our goal is to help any child who needs our help.”
Patrica Conroy is a southwest resident who has two children and works full time.
“A facility like this will do some good in this area,” she said. “My kids are older and can fend for themselves, but I’m sure for many parents of younger children this is a dream come true. Much needed.”
Contact Southwest and Spring Valley View reporter Amanda Donnelly at email@example.com or 380-4535.To Contact
Boys & Girls Club of Southern Highlands
10900 Southern Highlands Parkway
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Annual membership: $20