Boys and Girls Club burglarized

October 2, 2009 8:50:48 AM PDT
Whether it's playing with the parachute in the gym, hitting the books to get some homework done, or even just catching a few minutes of TV after school, it seems like all's well at the John Avery Boys and Girls Club. But behind all the activity, there's something that's been bothering the kids and staff here for weeks.

"It made me upset," offered club member Kayla Graham.

"It's an awful feeling. I mean, we feel violated," said Executive Director Sheila Ryba.

They were talking about the clubs air conditioning system. Thieves ransacked it in early September - stealing the copper. Police told club officials the crooks likely planned to sell it for scrap.

"They only [got] about three to four pounds of copper which sells for about 15 dollars. But for us, it costs about 6-thousand dollars to replace the unit," explained Ryba.

That's a lot of money the club doesn't have.

"We don't even have enough money to provide snacks for us. It's really sad. How you gonna let a lotta kids get really, really hot, if you're that cold-hearted," said club member Arianna Swain.

"We're scraping by on every dime we can get to continue our programming," said Ryba. "Six thousand dollars for this club is a huge hit. We can't afford it."

Providing services costs the Boys and Girls Club about $2,000 per child, so $6,000 to repair the A/C means three kids left out of the program.

"Those are three children that we can't afford to serve because someone vandalized our unit," said Ryba.

The kids in the club have a message for the thieves.

"Don't steal or damage anything cause it hurts other people," said Graham.

The club says it would never actually turn kids away. After dealing with it being awfully hot for weeks, they know they'll have to find a way replace the unit before the weather turns too cold.

"We've not found any takers, but again, we're looking," said Ryba.

The club does have insurance, but it's got a very high deductible and it's worried about premiums rising, especially if there happened to be some other incident at the facility.

The club would also like to put the replacement A/C on the roof of the building to make it safer from thieves. But, that adds more to the cost, so it probably won't happen.

If you can help, you can get more information at the club's website .

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