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Boys and Girls Club Returning to South Stockton After Five Years

STOCKTON -- Kids in South Stockton will soon have a new place to go after school. The Boys and Girls club is making a come back in Stockton's Weston Ranch neighborhood after closing its doors five years ago amid scandal.

Educators hope the club, housed in classroom 112 at Weston Ranch High School, will give kids a safe space to thrive.

“Yes, this might be empty right now but to know it’s going to be full of faces and kids that are gonna be happy and thriving and safe, that means a lot to us," said Francine Baird, principal at Weston Ranch High School. 

Turning the classroom into the future site of Stockton's Weston Ranch Boys and Girls Club has been a more than a year long effort by educators. 

“One of the main things that I know that the area needed was a community based program," said Eric Duncan,  Manteca Unified School District trustee. 

In addition to a classroom at Weston Ranch High School, neighboring New Vision High School will also have four classrooms available to the club.

“When our superintendent mentioned that he was interested in a Boys and Girls Club I jumped right on it,"  said  Sonya Arellano, principal at New Vision High School. "I emailed him I’m like 'hey I want to be a part of this and you’re more than welcome to use our facility.'”

Along with the classrooms , the high school's gym and the soccer field will also be open for play.

"And all of us being on the same mission, there’s no way that this can’t succeed," said Craig Ward, president of the Weston Ranch Boys and Girls Club.

The last time the Boys and Girls Club was a part of the city was 2013, when the group lost its charter.

 The new club on track to open by this fall.

 Duncan said parents are just as excited as the kids.

“'When is the Boys and Girls Club coming in?' I’m getting questions [like that] a ton a day and you know, it just motivates me to just try to make it happen even faster," said Duncan. 

Duncan will be setting up a meeting with community children to get their feedback on what they’d like to see in the Boys and Girls Club. 

“[This is] super exciting," said Arellano. "It’s nice to see the community come together because the bottom line is for the kids.”

Organizers are now focusing their efforts to raise the $125,000 they need to kick off the program.​