Boys & Girls Club gains momentum in DeWitt County

Sonny Long

Dec. 17, 2013 at 6:17 a.m.

CUERO - Organizers of a Boys & Girls Club of DeWitt County want to give kids a choice to give them a chance.

City Councilman Doyle Cruz suggested forming a club after seeing children walking the streets of Cuero.

"I see kids out in the street, especially during the summertime, their pants hanging down, talking noise," Cruz said.

"I checked around, and there's really nothing for them to do, no activities."

Cruz said that as a child he was a regular at the Boys & Girls Club in San Antonio.

"I was thinking about my past when I was growing up in San Antonio. The Boys & Girls Club saved me from being a gangster, dope head or whatever," said Cruz.

"I was 8, 9 years old and used to ride my bicycle 45 minutes to get there."

Cruz said he decided to run for City Council to increase his chances of being heard on the topic of forming a Boys & Girls Club.

He won and gained the support of fellow councilman and former teacher and coach John Fuqua. Both men now sit on the fledgling club's board of directors.

"There's definitely a need, especially in the summer," Fuqua said. "The club would be a good place for the kids to go."

Fuqua also said that the local Ministerial Alliance has taken an interest in supporting the formation of a Boys & Girls Club.

"They see the need for kids to have some place to go. It's all the churches. They aren't pushing any particular denomination," Fuqua said.

Board president Christi Fuchs, a fifth-grade science teacher in Cuero, said she hasn't spoken with anyone who did not receive the idea well and offer support.

The club has taken the first steps with formation of the board of directors and is in the process of applying for official nonprofit status.

"We've also been 'shopping' for a building in Cuero, but that's down the line a little," Fuchs said.

"Our first need is monetary donations so the club can open," Fuchs said, noting that startup and first-year costs are estimated at $200,000.

"Eventually, we'll need volunteers to serve on committees and to work with the children."

The club's first substantial financial contribution came in November when the JCCH Hamilton Family Foundation donated $5,000.

"We appreciate those who have already expressed a desire to help. We wouldn't be this far along without them," Fuchs said.

The board will meet in January to create a fundraising plan and other organizational needs, Fuchs said.

Eventually, the club would like to have satellite locations in Yorktown and Yoakum.

The board has been receiving guidance from the Beeville Boys & Girls Club.

"We wanted to have some assistance and additional resources and knowledge available to us," Fuchs said. "The Beeville Club is working closely with us and mentoring us."

Also working closely with the DeWitt board is Fay Beard, board member of the Boys & Girls Club Texas Alliance.

Cruz said that in addition to seeing the need firsthand in his neighborhood, he has stopped kids on the streets of his Cuero neighborhood and talked with them about a Boys & Girls Club.

"They get excited," said Cruz. "You can't save all the kids, but if you can save some of them like the Boys & Girls Club saved me, you've made a difference."



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