Staffing shortages hit Boys and Girls Clubs

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 05:54:06-05

(KGTV) — Businesses and non-profits across San Diego County continue to deal with staffing shortages following the pandemic.

The Boys and Girls Club of San Dieguito has been struggling to fill roughly a dozen positions.

"Typically for any of our job openings we may have between 10 and 30 applicants. Now, we see 1,2, maybe 3 applicants, and for some, they're just not applying," said CEO Marineke Vandervort.

The non-profit just raised its hourly wage to $16 to compete with California's new $15 an hour minimum wage.

"That's a big challenge for us, but we know that we need the staff and we've got to stay competitive, in order for us to do that on a yearly basis, that minimal increase can cost upwards of $100,000 for an organization our size, so you can imagine, what the challenges are there with the additional need for fundraising," said Vandervort.

The organization provides after-school care and educational programs to roughly 13,000 kids at seven clubhouses in Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Encinitas, Solana Beach, and Eden Gardens.

In its 56 year history, this is the first time there is a waiting list of families wanting to join.

"We love to see smiling faces, we love to have noisy buildings so to have a waitlist is incredibly unusual and a little bit painful emotionally because this is what we do and we want to serve the families," said Vandervort.

There are dozens of families waiting to join the various clubs. Jill Clarke knows the value of being a member. Her two children have been going to the Encinitas Boys and Girls Club since they were in kindergarten.

"I am a worrier beyond your wildest imagination. This is the one place in town, we do have some family in town, this is the one place I know they will be completely safe, looked after, they'll have their individual needs attended to," said Clarke.

Her 12-year-old daughter especially loves the club's garden.

"I like that we can use some food and then go to the kitchen and bake," said Bilen Clarke-Ek.

Recently, they've been stretched so thin, the CEO has been driving the van for some after-school pick-ups.

"Driving them and just joking around with them and they call me "Mrs. M" because my name is hard to pronounce and now when they see me they're always waving, so that was definitely a silver lining," said Vandevort.

Clarke feels fortunate to have joined when her children were young.

"This is such an, almost hidden gem for a lot of families."