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BGCGSD Celebrates 75 Years of Changing Lives! 

On Wednesday, November 1st, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego (BGCGSD) celebrated 75 years of serving youth in a safe and nurturing environment since the opening of their first San Diego club in 1942.    

William J. Oakes, the principal at Memorial Junior High, saw the need for after-school services in Logan Heights and began his quest to obtain a space where the youth could develop positive traits and become contributing citizens. Oakes rallied San Diego business leaders to establish the first Boys Club in San Diego County, the Boys Club of San Diego. 

Since then, the agency has grown to include 19 sites and is the second largest Boys & Girls Club agency in California, covering almost 45% of San Diego County. Their mission is to inspire and enable youth to achieve academic success, build good character and responsible citizenship, and make healthy lifestyle choices. 

“I loved coming there. It provided a shelter for me, an outlet for my energy and just run by wonderful, wonderful people.” BGCGSD alumni AC Mills Jr. explains as he reflects on his experience attending the William J. Oakes branch as a youth. “They taught me, if you can dream, it can be achieved and I think that’s the most I got of it. “

BGCGSD alumni Cecil Steppe describes the impact the Club had on him, “They helped us begin to focus on something more than just running the streets, playing in the streets, having a good time and a focus that really put us on a trail towards some better things for us.“ 

This anniversary is more than a number to those associated with the Boys & Girls of Clubs of Greater San Diego. It is a milestone for community leaders and donors, who willed this organization into existence and refused to let it falter from its mission. 

The celebration featured obstacle courses, a basketball tournament, art workshops as well as the opportunity for the community to see how the BGCGSD impacts the youth they serve on a day-to-day basis.

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