Safe haven in crime-riddled Oceanside neighborhood gets a facelift

Oceanside Boys & Girls Clubs sees attendance drop

OCEANSIDE, Calif. - The temporary home of the Oceanside Boys & Girls Clubs currently looks like an abandoned home, with paint chipping off corners, cabinet covers missing, holes in the ceiling and stains on the floor.

"It's not a good situation," said Oceanside Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Tammy Walz.

Yet dozens of children go there every day before and after school, including 13-year-old Julles Thompson.

"When everyone's in here it's cramped," said Thompson.

Two weeks ago, a girl Julles' age and a 15-year-old boy were shot and killed less than a mile away. Walz said the neighborhood has seen its fair share of gangs, crime and murders.

"Parents have told us we're their safe haven. We're here so that parent feels comfortable when they have to work until five, six, seven o'clock at night," she said.

That's why Walz said it's important a $650,000 renovation is completed on the old clubhouse.

In the past few months, the Clubs have watched attendance dip from 125 kids a day to as little as 45.

"This isn't the best place, the best situation for us," Walz said of the temporary quarters.

Crews are renovating the bigger building, which was in as bad shape as the temporary facility.

A bank loan is paying for the renovation, and Walz said they hope to gather donations to pay off the loan.

She said it's a worthwhile investment to continue making the Clubs a safe haven for Oceanside children.


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