JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — One of the most important items on a family’s budget is child care, even when schools are in session. And two of the places many youngsters enjoy going after school are the Boys & Girls Clubs in Marble Falls and Burnet.
Since 60 percent of the operating budget comes from private donations, according to Executive Director Bill Drake, the organization is asking community members to consider donating $100 to sponsor a child for December.
“It’s basically for all the great stuff we feel we’re able to do,” he said. “We couldn’t do that without some help. We’re a little shy going into the end of the year.”
The clubs serve between 200 and 250 children a day. The cost per child is $1,200 annually to house and staff the facilities. But when factoring in the operating hours and the number of children, that works out to 89 cents per day.
“There’s not anywhere in the state you can pay that,” Drake said. “Of the kids who come, 95 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch.”
Nationally, juvenile crimes rise 350 percent between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., which coincides with the times the Boys & Girls Clubs are open. The clubs offer an alternative to getting into mischief.
Staff members have partnered with the Sylvan Learning Center and the Freedom Flyers in Burnet, which help with curriculum, technology and other skills. As a result, Drake said students attending the Boys & Girls Clubs are improving in math and science.
In addition, Drake said staff members are getting the names of attendees to teachers. That way, if a student has homework to do, teachers can contact the club to make sure the work is finished before the child begins other activities.
“There’s a lot of value,” Drake said.
To make a donation, stop by the Boys & Girls Club of the Highland Lakes, 1701 Broadway in Marble Falls or send it to P.O. Box 190, Marble Falls, TX 78654; or the Boys & Girls Club, 709 Northington in Burnet or send it to P.O. Box 181, Burnet, TX 78611.