Boys & Girls Clubs of Tustin: Persevering Through the Pandemic

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Tustin initially closed at the start of the pandemic, but since has safely opened at reduced capacity and increased hours to accommodate children who are enrolled in distance learning.

“The impact to our revenue was huge,” CEO Jamie Serrano said. “The longer this goes on the further and further that deficit will stretch.”

“Grants like this — it’s huge. Every single dollar of lifeline that comes through is huge for us and gives us the ability to stretch the pandemic a little further,” she said.

In addition, applying for and receiving the CARES Act emergency funding was simple.

“That was the most easy and streamlined process of any funding we’ve received,” Serrano said. “That’s so important.”

The center is now operating at about 80 percent of its typical staffing, electing to reallocate staff to different positions to fill the need rather than furlough or lay off staff.

“We had to make significant adjustments to the way we operate and think outside the box,” Serrano said.

Sanitizing and cleaning happens now at the top of every hour when the kids rotate to different rooms. Employees use gloves, cleaning spray and wipes, and throwing away gloves and wipes after cleaning each room.

“We are going through PPE at an enormous volume we had never worried about (before),” she said. “It’s not easy to find some of these supplies, let alone the cost of it.”

In addition to not being able to hold annual fundraisers, grants the program relies on were funneled elsewhere to aid with other needs during the pandemic.

“We’re just one of the many that also need it more than ever,” Serrano said.

The CARES Act emergency funding is being used to pay salaries, as well as the cost of PPE and cleaning supplies.

“Not having to lose people and save jobs for them right now is huge,” Serrano said. “There are no words to say how grateful we are for the funds and the community-based organizations that are helping to distribute and monitor. We would be lost without it.” 

Learn more about the Boys & Girls Club of Tustin here.