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Free after-school program with the Tehachapi Boys and Girls Club

Good News Tehachapi

With 69 locations scattered throughout Kern County, the Boys and Girls Club serves over 3,000 children two hot meals each day. A service they kept running throughout the pandemic at 5,000 kids per day, with the addition of serving first responders.

In addition to their meal efforts, the Boys and Girls Club is known for offering free after-school enrichment programs for students of all ages in the schools they collaborate with. The Boys and Girls Club has been operating in Tehachapi over the past three years, and although they don't offer the free meal program, they do have an excellent after-school program that serves about 50 middle school students.

Every day after school, students from Tehachapi Independent Learning Academy (TILA) and Jacobsen Middle School (JMS) gather in a large room on the TILA campus. Upon arrival, kids are offered snacks and, weather permitting, get outdoor recreation time. Afterward, the students receive homework help for an hour and are then given an enrichment activity such as arts, crafts or cooking. On Tuesday and Thursday, special classes are taught by TILA, ranging from dance and martial arts to robotics and STEM, which allows students to explore a variety of different interests.

Kids are encouraged to apply for club jobs, where they hold titles such as Snack Monitor, Outside Monitor and Office Assistant. Each Friday the kids get paid in club bucks, which can be spent in the club's student store. The student store offers things like snacks, school supplies, art supplies and toys.

The program runs every day after school until 6 p.m, including minimum days, giving kids extra enrichment opportunities and parents a free and safe childcare option. For now, the after-school program is only open to middle school students, however Program Director Yesenia Gutierrez has big hopes to see it grow into a clubhouse for kids of all ages. Summer of 2023 marked the club's first summer program, a success they hope to carry on each summer.

Currently, the club is operating out of the TILA/Cerro Coso buildings at 126 S. Snyder Ave. and is working with both TILA and JMS. Any middle-school aged child can join the program regardless of their enrollment, but transportation to and from the program is not provided for students outside of TILA or JMS. Applications for the program can be found at TILA, JMS, or by emailing [email protected]. Any questions can be directed to [email protected] or by calling/texting (661) 293-9092.

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