Robert Rubio, current operations manager of Rio Hondo Boys and Girls Club, knows that whoever touches a child’s soul will do it forever. That is why, for more than two decades, he has been dedicated to expand programs of support for children and youth in southeast Los Angeles – the most important group in our society, according to him.
When he took over the club that is located in Bell Gardens in 1995, they only helped 200 youth annually– now that number has increased to 1,000. The number of clubs has also increased in the area that he supervises – there are now three clubs with youth coming from Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Commerce, Downey, Huntington Park, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Pico Rivera and South Gate. The youth come to have fun, do homework, get tutoring help or be entertained in different ways.
Currently the biggest club is located on 7104 Perry Rd, Bell Gardens, which offers an athletic center where youth can practice soccer, basketball, hockey and other sports. In addition, it offers an art center for children ages 7 to 17 that can learn and practice to draw and other do other handicrafts.
The club also offers a technological center with more than 20 computers. Another program it has is called “Money counts” – which is developed to help youth gain better control and responsibility of their money.
Rubio has turned into a total professional in public relations, as he is always having to look for new options for youth and money to not only fund his program, but to also maintain and expand the ones that are already established, which serves as a staple in business, corporations and the community.
According to Rubio (who is constantly attending city council meetings in Bell Gardens, Downey and other cities where he plans to open a center) all corporations in general want to help him – because they all want to look good in the city they serve. Currently Rio Hondo Boys and Girls Club manages a budget of $500,000 annually. Rubio is working in cities like Pico Rivera and Montebello to help open other cities.
Currently there are 4,400 nonprofit organizations called Boys and Girls Clubs in the United States, 27 are in Los Angeles County of which three are under Robert Rubio’s supervision.