Boys and Girls Clubs hit with funding cuts

Six sites closed, seventh now at risk

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SAN ANTONIOThe drop in charitable giving nationwide is also being felt by the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio.

Six of its sites that served many military families were closed in February, and now its clubhouse at Candlewood Elementary School, that opened 12 years ago, faces the same fate at the end of the summer, said Angie Mock, the nonprofit's CEO. 

"We need to raise $300,000 by the end of this month to keep Candlewood open for next year," Mock said. "Our organization has not only incurred a significant reduction in federal funding, workplace giving in San Antonio is also down substantially."

Mock said the potential closing of Candlewood's year-round program would be devastating to the families they serve, many of whom live on limited incomes.

"They're going to be hundreds of children that do not have a safe, affordable place to go and learn in the summer and throughout the year," Mock said. 

If that happens, Mock said the only alternative would be high-cost after-school programs.

Mock said Boys and Girls Clubs charge only $50 for the school year and an additional $50 for the summer.

"It's heartbreaking to the families, but it's also heartbreaking to our staff who work tirelessly to be that positive role model," Mock said. 

Among them is Nia-Real Pina, whose single mother enrolled her and her brother as children. 

Pina graduated from Texas A&M University-Commerce thanks in part to a scholarship from the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Mock said all of its club members who go to college receive a scholarship from the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Pina, who plans to become a teacher, said she wants more children to have that same opportunity.

"I want that for all kids," she said. 

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy-nominated photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.