KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Mom Heidi Verkler has nothing but praise for the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe.
“(Without the Boys & Girls Club) it would be extremely difficult when they are dismissed from school because I work on the other side of the school district,” said the Kings Beach resident, whose 8- and 11-year-old children attend the club. “But with the Boys & Girls Club, they can stay (in Kings Beach). ... Plus, (the club) has such great programs.”
Based in Kings Beach, the Boys & Girl Club of North Lake Tahoe will soon expand to Truckee to provide after-school programming that focuses on academic success and educational enrichment for elementary students.
At its July 9 meeting, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board of trustees approved a three-year agreement with the North Lake Tahoe chapter to establish the club at Truckee Elementary, according to the district.
“This is a dream come true,” TTUSD board member Kirsten Livak said in a statement. “This is exactly what Truckee needs. I only wish we could expand more quickly to serve teens — that is a big need in our community, but I am thrilled.”
In order to open its doors in Truckee, however, an additional $40,500 in funding is needed, said Mindy Carbajal, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe.
As of Tuesday, roughly $109,500 has been raised through donations, grant revenue and anticipated membership fees, she said.
TTUSD is pledging $10,000 annually for three years, starting this school year, according to the district.
Other potential funding sources include donations and grants, with a goal of opening this fall, Carbajal said.
Once operational, the club will provide daily after-school academic programming on virtually all school days to any K-5 student in the Truckee area until 6:30 p.m., said Rob Leri, TTUSD superintendent.
There will be open enrollment and also a referral process through Truckee Elementary and TTUSD, Carbajal added.
The program plans to serve 125 students a day in its first year.
“I think students who do not have access to other after-school opportunities and struggling students will especially benefit, but all students will have the opportunity for new learning experiences, time to connect with peers and be in safe, caring and fun environment,” Leri said.
Programs will include a homework completion and study program; academic support classes; and enrichment opportunities such as art, computers and robotics, Leri said.
As for transportation, since the elementary school is located on Donner Pass Road, many of TTUSD’s home-to-school bus routes could provide transportation to and from the club, Leri said. It’s an option being looked into, Carbajal said.
As for the future, there’s hope to expanded the program offering in Truckee, create a before-school program and have teen programs accessible to middle and high school students, Leri said.
Annual club membership is $50 for every student attendee except for kindergartners, whose fee is $100.
“I love that it’s an affordable after-school care program option in Truckee,” Verkler said. “For what you pay in membership, it’s phenomenal what the kids get out of it.”
In 2013-14, 2,645 youth were served with an average daily attendance of 301 students during the school year (September through June), up from 274 from the previous school year, according to the club.
Of the 2,645 youth served, 57 percent came from the Kings Beach area, 15 percent from Truckee, 12 percent from Incline Village, 7 percent from Tahoe City and 9 percent elsewhere.
“The club is truly a hub of youth on the North Shore and a lifeline for local families,” Carbajal said.