The Coast News Group
Volunteer Paula Nix teaches a popular cooking class at The Boys & Girls Club of Vista. Courtesy photo
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Boys & Girls Club of Vista needs volunteers

A volunteer base at a nonprofit can help make any organization more robust, and the Boys & Girls Club of Vista is no exception. The club offers summer and after-school programs at its California Avenue and Raintree Park Learning Center locations. Being that the club interacts with 2,600 kids a year in a variety of different programs such as after school, camps, athletics and special programs, volunteers are always in need. 

While the club welcomes youth members up to 18, most of its members are under 12.

A typical club day after school includes playtime, a healthy snack, homework, a visit to the computer lab and other activities such as dance, art, science or cooking.

Director of Development Ellen Clark, right, thanks volunteers like Paula Nix who inspire children at the Boys & Girls Club of Vista. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

“The club is not just a safe place to be after school, but it’s a good balance between enrichment activities as well as academic support,” Director of Development Ellen Clark said.

About 24 staff members work at the club to keep costs low for families. Membership is $50 a year.

“We do look to the community to fill in the gap between that $50 a year — it costs us $655 per child to provide basic services,” said Clark, adding that community support and volunteers play a vital role.

Clark said the club is in need of more generous volunteers to come in and to share their hearts and expertise with the children. Volunteer opportunities can range from reading to teaching classes such as art, fitness, dance and more.

“We’re even looking for volunteers to play kickball or basketball with the kids,” she said. “We do have outside competitive athletics where we are teaching the kids the basics of sportsmanship and fitness — our kids may be more fit than their peers who may be spending a little bit more time at home in front of the computer or TV especially if they are home alone.”

In addition to playtime, volunteers can be mentors by teaching basic skills that will stay with kids for life.

Volunteer and lifelong Vista resident Paula Nix has lent a helping hand for the last couple of years at the club. She first helped out in the playground, and now she is teaching a favorite six-week cooking class which lands on Mondays.

Between 10 and 14 kids take part in the class which lasts a couple of hours. Recipes are healthy such as banana breakfast bread and apple crisp.

“The kids are learning math with measuring, everyone is reading the recipe, they are learning how to cut safely and understanding the tools we need and how to use them,” Nix said. 

Nix went on to say how she looks forward to the cooking classes.

“The kids have this energy that brings joy — it’s so much fun,” she said.

Clark described Nix as an incredible volunteer and an asset to the club.

In addition to helping with the kids, administrative volunteers to helping out with fundraisers are also in demand. To learn more about the Boys & Girls Club of Vista and volunteer opportunities, call (760) 724-6606.