Heart of the High Plains: Maverick Boys and Girls Club of Amarillo

Heart of the High Plains

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — For almost 90 years, the now Maverick Boys and Girls Club of Amarillo has been serving area youth in number of ways.

The motto of The Maverick Boys and Girls Club of Amarillo is simple.

“Be the person you needed when you were young,” said Donna Soria, Maverick Boys and Girls Club of Amarillo CEO & Executive Director.

But it’s powerful.

“I think our staff is in competition with each other to be the most important person in these children’s lives because I think everyone can remember somebody who influenced them when they were young,” said Soria.

Because they never know who they might be reaching.

“If we can expose these kids to every opportunity out there and pay attention and just watch with curiosity or listen with curiosity, what sparks them? Then we can help develop that and get them ready, just be here for them when they’re not at school or not at home,” said Soria.

They’ve been doing this at The Maverick for going on 88 years now.

The process starts when school lets out and their doors open up.

“We serve them a hot meal and then we go right into power hour which is when we help with homework. Then we get to do the fun stuff around here. We have a gym. We have art. We’ve got music. We’ve got video games. We’ve got pool tables. We even have a trampoline park here with Stars Gymnastics. We’re more than just warehousing kids or professional babysitters,” said Soria.

But that all changed when the pandemic hit last year, Soria said they were limited in how many kids they could serve.

Going from 500 to just 30, but that’s when Soria and her staff got creative in their outreach.

“We sent out a postcard to all of our families. A really big postcard so that the kids could see it was from us if it came in the mail. It just said we miss you, give us a call if you want to talk because we’re here. We couldn’t believe how much response we got from that,” said Soria.

Which makes Soria excited for the future.

“We just want to be here so that when they don’t have opportunities to get into trouble or just to sit around and watch tv or just to eat or not do anything productive. We’re here and we’re anxious to open up to full capacity and so hopefully when summer camp starts, we’ll be ready to go,” said Soria.

Soria says that only one out of seven Boys and Girls Clubs were open in Texas last year and they were one of them.

In addition to sanitizing everything, Soria says they’re erring on the side of caution and will continue to wear masks for the time being.

To learn more about The Maverick Boys and Girls Club of Amarillo, click here: https://www.facebook.com/maverickboysandgirlsclub

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