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Welcome home, Boys & Girls

WAIMEA — “Air conditioning” were the two words out of the mouths of Boys & Girls Club Westside members Thursday as they trickled into the West Kauai Tech Center in Waimea.

“It can get pretty hot out here,” said Tina Albao, Boys & Girls Club Kauai business manager. “This has air conditioning, which is pretty cool. We can also shut it off when we don’t need it, and open the doors for circulation. But this is really good, especially during the summer.”

The Boys & Girls Club Westside was enjoying its second day in the West Kauai Tech Center in the space formerly occupied by the West Kauai Visitor Center.

“This is pretty exciting,” Albao said. “Yesterday was the first day the students came to this location. I even brought a cake to celebrate this place.”

Albao said the new location was made possible through a donation from the Rotary Club of Poipu Beach, and the Jared Murayama ‘Ohana.

“The Rotary Club of Poipu came up with $12,000, and JoAnn Yukimura, another B&G board member, found the other $13,000,” Young said. “This covers the cost of a year of operating here. We’ll be looking for funding sources to cover the next two, or three years.”

There are about 50 members registered in the B&G program with students coming from the Kekaha Elementary School, St. Theresa School, the Waimea Canyon Middle School and Waimea High School.

Of those, there are about 30 students who come on a daily basis, said Chaslene Halog, B&G Westside youth development specialist.

“We used to be in the Kekaha Neighborhood Center,” said Rylan Mizumoto, a B&G member for several years. “They let us do our homework, and then, we can go out to play. This place is much better because it has air conditioning.”

Chris Young, a B&G board member and a member of the Rotary Club of Poipu Beach, agreed.

“This is nice,” Young said. “The location is close to the middle school where the students can just walk over after school, and the air conditioning is nice to be able to do homework. This is a safe place, and it’s close.”

Sal Bosco, another Rotarian from the Poipu club, said credit should go to Young’s determination to get this program funded.

“He wouldn’t give up,” Bosco said. “We want everyone in the Boys & Girls Club Westside to love this place. That is important to us. We want everyone to have a great time, here.”

Young said now that the Westside has been anchored, he is looking at trying to seed a program in Anahola or places north for those children.

“We’re not investing enough in our youth,” Young said. “With this Westside location, we’re doing it, now.”

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