Who We Are | Overview

The Mission of the Boys & Girls Club of West Valley is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

National Statistics
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America have been serving children and youth for more than 100 years. The Clubs have continually added modern concepts of management, operation and new programs in order to meet the ever-changing needs of members. The effectiveness of the organizations has enabled Clubs to serve a wide variety of youth.

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• 4,800,000 girls and boys served annually
• 4,300 + Club facilities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and overseas, including:
• 37% Traditional Clubs
• 9% Clubs located on U.S. military bases in the U.S., Europe and Asia
• 10% Clubs located in public housing
• 4% Clubs located on Native American lands
• 3% Houses of worship
• 2% Other
• 50,000 trained professional staff full and part-time
• 147,000 program volunteers
• 29,100 local board members


The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley sits in a challenging neighborhood for a child to grow up in, an area where its young residents are vulnerable to many negative socio-economic forces that often make growing up very difficult:

• More than 60 percent of children in Canoga Park elementary and middle schools are enrolled in free and reduced-cost lunch programs.

• There are only two after-school programs within a one-mile radius of the Club.

• Out of the 3,100 members of the Boys & Girls Club of the West San Fernando Valley, 85 percent live in homes with an annual household income under $30,000.

• Forty-one percent of the Club’s children come from single-parent households.

Organizations like the Boys & Girls Club are squeezed from two directions during challenging
economic times: more young people are in desperate need of the Club’s services,
including supportive adults and a safe, supportive environment, while at the same time,
financial donations to support its activities are more difficult to obtain than ever.

The need for a Boys & Girls Club in the area has never been more apparent
and its focus on offering a place where children can experience a positive
environment of friendship, playtime, and learning has never been greater.


The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley was founded in 1992 by a group of
community leaders in response to the need for safe, affordable, educational and
productive activities for at-risk youth during non-school hours. For its first ten
years, however, the Club did not have a home to call its own, invited to utilize local schools’ space, but forced to move when the schools reclaimed the space to meet their own needs.

The Club’s first home was Calvert Elementary School in Woodland Hills. In 1998, a site
was opened at Columbus Middle School in Canoga Park but was closed a year
later because of the school’s needs. The Club moved to the Pacific Lodge Boys Home in
Woodland Hills, where it remained until January, 2004.

At that time, after years of fund raising, the Club purchased its own facility
with the help of a grant from the state and assistance from a local business leader.



The Club’s current location at 7245 Remmet Ave., Canoga Park, is a two-story, 10,000-square-foot building. The building was recently significantly renovated and is today well-suited to meet the needs of local children.

A focus of the Club in recent years has been to gather as much community support as possible to let the surrounding community’s businesses and residents know how crucial the facility is to the well-being of the neighborhood. Local support is particularly crucial because the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America does not subsidize the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley; the West Valley Club depends largely on its own community for support.

When the Club was opened in Woodland Hills in the 1990s, the children using the facility were mostly from a middle-class socio-economic level. Fewer than 50 percent were under the poverty level. For that reason, funding was difficult to obtain. Now being located in Canoga Park, more than 80 percent of the children come from families living beneath the poverty level.

Foundations are recognizing that there is a greater need for support than ever, while local organizations and local businesses throughout the West San Fernando Valley are discovering how much the Club is doing for the local community and are helping out. Businesses are providing both financial and in-kind support and the Club has collaborated with various agencies in the area to benefit children and families.

It takes money to run a Boys & Girls Club – approximately $500 per child per year. The alternative: keeping a young adult in jail costs taxpayers $25,000 to $75,000 annually. The Boys & Girls Clubs’ proven delinquency-prevention programs are one of the best bargains in America.

Major special events are staged by the Club throughout the year as fundraisers that also inform the community about the Club’s programs and activities.

The Club brings a lot of creativity to such activities as a Mile of Quarters event held at the Westfield Topanga Mall, where quarters are laid out for a mile through the mall to raise money for the Club. Individuals, companies, service clubs, and schools sponsor certain portions of the mile. It’s a fun-filled day featuring music and entertainment and provides an interactive event for the whole community.

All these events as well as all the other community outreach activities in which the Club participates have a single purpose – to position the Club as a vital place to help children in the community in a constructive manner that educates them and helps them grow.





The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley is in the midst of a renaissance.

In 2007, it brought aboard as its first full-time President and Chief Executive Officer, Jan Sobel, a respected and experienced management executive, who is herself a native of the San Fernando Valley.

Also in 2007, the Board of Directors was tripled in size, adding a dozen leading civic and business leaders.

The Club has begun an ambitious outreach program, providing its unique combination of programming and support for young people at Blythe and Reseda Elementary Schools, Topeka Drive Elementary, Tierra del Sol, and Canoga Park High School. Additional off-site programs are being explored.

All of these changes have, and will continue, to enhance the reputation and community support of this vital organization.

“But,” says Board Chairman Gary Thomas, “what really counts is just one thing: We’re here to change children’s lives – for the better – right here in the San Fernando Valley.”

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