There will be no interruption to children's program as Arizona Housing Development Corporation begins managing operations Feb. 1, 2020.
YUMA, Ariz.—During their Jan. 15th regular Yuma City Council meeting, the Mayor and City Council approved a contract to lease the buildings of the former Boys & Girls Club of America’s Yuma location at 1100 S. 13th Avenue. The facility will now be run by the Arizona Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) SHINE Program effective Feb. 1, with no changes to operations, programs or services. The only notable change to the public will be the name.
“The SHINE Program Boys & Girls Center” will aim to keep the focus and core mission on Yuma’s children and providing them with a safe, positive environment to learn and thrive.
AHDC is a Yuma-based not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the general social welfare of the community through initiatives that include housing and community programs focused on an improved quality of life. One of those initiatives is the SHINE Program, an afterschool program for youth. Founded 10 years ago, SHINE focuses on youth development originally through sports and character education, and has developed into a greater vision of diverse afterschool programming designed to promote constructive activity during critical and typically unsupervised hours.
The SHINE Program focuses on physical fitness, exercise nutrition and overall health, as well as education, team-building, mentoring and youth leadership. They meet at least once each week during the school year and reach more than 250 youth annually. A team of Housing Authority of the City of Yuma (HACY) volunteer coaches facilitate the events and incorporate instructional discussions.
The re-establishment of a Boys and Girls Club of America program is currently not an option, given the nation-wide moratorium on establishing new charters. The staff and leadership from the Salvation Army and the SHINE Boys and Girls Center program are working collaboratively to provide a smooth transition of services, with all organizations focusing on the youth of Yuma. The Salvation Army will leave the equipment for the children at the facility.
In order to meet the programming needs traditionally provided in a standard Boys and Girls Club, the SHINE Program will provide those same programs in addition to the SHINE programs already in existence.
AHDC will take over and maintain operations of the facility and center with its focus on the children of Yuma and their greater benefit from the center’s role in the community.
The added benefit of the SHINE Program is the local board. The decisions that impact the Yuma youth at the center will be determined by the AHDC Board, comprised of Yuma community members. Specific needs are not subject to out-of-town decisions, but to the local residents of Yuma.
HACY Executive Director Michael Morrissey says they will not only maintain the existing programs and services offered to Yuma children and families through the Boys and Girls Club, but additionally aim to enhance and strengthen programs essential to meeting their growing needs.
“This is an awesome and challenging responsibility, and my team and I are committed to doing all we can to strengthen and grow a much needed and invaluable resource for the boys and girls in our community,” said HACY Executive Director and SHINE Program Executive Director Michael Morrissey. “We are focused on their development into strong, educated, capable young leaders. We will utilize all available resources and support provided to ensure their success.”
“Youth programs have powerful influences on our youth for generations,” said Mayor of Yuma Douglas Nicholls. “This specific location has been key to the surrounding community and is central to the overall community. Continuing Boys and Girls Club-type programming is essential for the generations to come as well as for the youth of today. Local community supporters rally around this mission. With the vote of City Council and the local control of the new programming, the future of quality, positive youth programs is assured,” said Mayor Nicholls. “Deeply grateful for everyone coming together for Yuma youth, for Yuma’s future.”
Terre Catanzaro, Chief Administrative Officer for JV Smith Companies, added that she is thrilled to see the Yuma community once again coming together for the greater good. “I am grateful to the Mayor and City Council for the work they put into honoring donor intent and keeping the newly renovated building operational for our youth. Because of the work of the donor committee, city officials and staff of the SHINE Program, there will be no interruptions to the youth currently attending the program. Their dedication to Yuma’s youth also makes it possible for the Shine program to expand the services they have been offering and grow the after-school program to the maximum occupancy of 300 youth that the donor’s believed possible when the project began several years ago. There is still a great deal of work to be done and funds to be raised, but I have faith that the community will come together once again to take care of its own.”
“Our AHDC Board is proud and excited to be a part of this transition in continuing to meet the needs of our youth in this community,” said AHDC Board President Fernie Quiroz.
For questions regarding the SHINE Program, contact Program Director Luz Acosta at LuzA@HACY.org. For media inquiries or additional information from the Mayor & Council’s Office, please contact Lucy Valencia at (928) 373-5016 or Lucy.Valencia@YumaAz.gov.