UNITED STATES: Salesian Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco Reopens after $11 Million Renovation
(MissionNewswire) On November 6, 2015, the Salesian Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco reopened after an extensive $11 million renovation project. The renovation adds 7,500 square feet of space to the existing building and includes a new martial arts and dance studio, arts and crafts/culinary room, learning center, black box theater, conference room, gym and game room. The project was made possible by an initial $5 million in funding when the project began five years ago and an additional $6 million contributed by generous donors over the past several years.
Originally founded as the Salesian Boys’ Club, it was established in San Francisco in 1918 by Father Oreste Trincheri to serve at-risk boys and those living in poverty in the North Beach area, an area accounting for 60 percent of the city’s delinquency rate. Father Trincheri’s goal for the club was to provide a positive atmosphere and structured activities for boys in the area. In 1994, after serving only boys for almost 80 years, the club opted to include girls and expand its programs accordingly.
“Our primary mission is working with the underprivileged, but we are very diversified ethnically and socioeconomically,” said Russ Gumina, executive director of the Salesian Boys & Girls Club, in a recent Catholic San Francisco article about the reopening. He also noted that the club has many children from local public housing projects as well as from middle class and wealthy families. He added, “I told the archbishop we are the best kept secret in San Francisco.” The archdiocese is leasing the land the club sits on to the club for $1 a year for 70 years – which the club has already paid upfront.
Functioning side by side with Salesian schools, youth clubs offer young people opportunities for engaging in constructive activities during their leisure time. Through organized programs which often include sports and music, youth are taught teamwork and social skills while gaining opportunities for personal growth.
“I’ve been a member since I was about 4 or 5 years old,” said Dave Mana, 60, at the club’s grand reopening, according to the recent Catholic San Francisco article. “There are so many great things about the club. The fact it kept us on the straight and narrow is one thing.”
The Salesian Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco provides a safe space where youth can engage in sports, music, art and other social activities. Programs help build confidence and teach team building and conflict resolution skills. Leadership development, health programs and wrap-around family services are also offered and help youth connect with their peers, families and communities. The Salesian club offers drop-in services as well as scheduled activities. It also serves as an after-school program for the local St. Peter and Paul School.
“The Salesian Boys & Girls Club targets youth who would otherwise be on their own during their time away from school,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Instead of being on the streets or home alone, young people are able to join in the youth club’s activities and use their free time productively, staying safe and accessing support services that help them stay in school and keep focused on leading a happy and healthy life.”
Catholic San Francisco – Grand reopening of ‘landmark’ Salesian Boys and Girls Club