The City of Redlands has a rich history and is affectionately known as the Jewel of the Inland Empire. It is blessed with a myriad of people who are warm and hospitable with the ability to make you feel welcome anytime you enter into their community. Redlands is a safe community filled with people who will seek to help you, not seek to harm you.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Redlands (BGCR) was established in this community in 1967. BGCR’s past leadership did well in emulating the fundamental nature of the city in which it was founded. Since their inception BGCR has expanded their operation into the surrounding communities of Loma Linda and Mentone, effectively bringing programs to communities that were previously underserved.
But, there have been some recent choices made by the present leadership of the BGCR that strays from the roots and values of the city in which it was launched. Also, these choices, I’m certain, are in opposition to the integrity of the organization they supposedly represent, the Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA).
The present leadership of BGCR embarked on some questionable decisions with little or no regards to the organization that exists directly to the west, the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Bernardino (BGCSB). BGCSB was also founded in 1967 by Jack Brown, C.E.O. of Stater Bros; Patrick Morris, Mayor of San Bernardino; the late Art Townsend, founder of the Precinct Reporter; and Bruce Varner, attorney and member of The Regents of the University of California.
Motivated by their desire to obtain funds at any cost, the BGCR decided to make a few weasel moves.
A weasel move by definition is an action that is treacherous, underhanded or sneaky in manner.
Weasel move #1. Because of the past association with the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB) through the Brockton site in the Redlands Public Housing area, the BGCR opened up a site in the Waterman Gardens with the assistance of the HACSB.
Why would an organization which serves three communities with a population of around 100,000 including 26,000 kids under 18 want to expand into a city that is already being served by another area club? Why would an organization which serves households with a median income of about $50,000.00 choose to expand into a neighboring locality without notifying the local area club of their intent to set up shop in their city? The answer is simple, greed. Weasel move #2. On the BGCR website homepage they display serving the communities of Loma Linda, Mentone, Redlands, and San Bernardino. If you go to the BGCA website and go to the ‘Find a Club’ page, then enter 92410, the zip code for Waterman Gardens, the nearest site will be the BGCSB. The Waterman Gardens site is not recognized as an official site of the BGCA. Yet they shout it out loud and clear on their homepage – very deceitful.
· Please note: During construction of the BGCSB webpage it mistakenly stated ‘serving the county’ instead of ‘city of San Bernardino’. BGCR was outraged and contacted BGCSB. Shortly thereafter, the word county was corrected to read city.
· Also note: The BGCSB was contacted to expand into the city of Riverside. The organization declined due to the natural county boundaries.
Weasel move #3. The Inland Empire is made up of numerous Boys & Girls Clubs in a multitude of cities. Yet if you go to www.bgcie.org, www.bgcie.net or www.bgcie.com all of these sites will refer you to the BGCR webpage. Some call this a shrewd move. In light of all the other weasel moves, I call it very underhanded. Weasel move #4. Boys & Girls Clubs count on the generosity of foundations, corporations, businesses, individuals and the community for their support. They also receive grants from various sources. The BGCR has the audacity to apply for a Community Development Block Grant from the City of San Bernardino. Where are they going to use this money? Not in San Bernardino! Waterman Gardens is wholly funded by HACSB!
The true reason the BGCR is in Waterman Gardens is to use the median income numbers from the low housing development to strengthen grant proposals that they intend to write. This is nothing but exploitation in its worst form.
The Boys & Girls Clubs mission is “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” What kind of example is the BGCR setting to its young people by seeking to obtain the all mighty dollar through any means necessary, no matter what person or group they use, step-on or abuse to get it?
Rikke Van Johnson
Chairman of the Board
Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino
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