Showing that not even children’s organizations are spared from crime, thieves stole freshly planted grass and mulch from the West Fresno Boys & Girls Club.
Thursday was the second night in a row that landscaping was stolen from the center at 930 Tulare St., club officials said
Police have no leads.
“The first night was a shock. I didn’t think someone would steal from children,” said Juanieace Wilson, club director. “The club members haven’t even had a chance to enjoy the grass because the area is still under construction. We made signs pleading (with) them not to take the grass but they tore (the signs) down the second night they stole.”
Wilson fears thieves will return this weekend.
Grass Less Than Two Weeks Old
The organization received about $60,000 from Lowe’s as part of the retailer’s Hometown Project, a five-year, $100 million grant program to rebuild community spaces, said Richard Saldivar, director of operations for the Fresno County Boys & Girls Club.
They used the money to buy grass, and mulch, and install a new wrought-iron fence. They wanted a grassy area for the kids to play.
“We wanted to refurbish it all, put a grass playing field down because the kids don’t have one,” Saldivar said.
The nearest area is Frank H. Ball Playground, but it can be dangerous to take the kids there from the club, Saldivar said.
They planted the grass two weeks ago.
They still have some grant money left so they’re making calls to expand the lighting at the club. Saldivar also wants to install security cameras. They had planned a community day to plant fruits and vegetables in the new garden beds.
“It’s just unfortunate, you know, that a lot of people put a lot of hard work into that garden, you know, and just to see it happen like that,” Saldivar said. “I just don’t understand how people are going to come into a place, the Boys & Girls Club, it’s for the community.”
West Fresno One of Fresno’s Busiest Clubs
Saldivar said the club has about 300 members. Every day, about 90 kids have fun, learn, and socialize there.
The Boys and Girls Club focuses on youth development.
It connects young people with mentors and provides space for members to learn job skills.
One of the organization’s biggest successes is the 94% high school graduation rate of club members.