Sat, July 20

Boys & Girls Club burglarized

No more snacks for Cottonwood Boys & Girls Club kids.

After-school snacks and video games are not available thanks to thieves who burglarized the club sometime on Dec. 3.

Cottonwood Boys & Girls Club Branch Director Elizabeth Heaney said that when she opened the club on Thursday morning, she discovered that thieves had forced entry and stole video games and cash.

She said that about $240 in cash in the form of scholarships, program fees and donation monies in addition to students' store funds and several sports video games are missing.

"What really bothers me is that they stole the Torch Club store funds," she said. "Now there are no after-school snacks until we can build up the funds. And the kids are fuming."

To add insult to injury, thieves absconded with an award that a group of three club members from Cottonwood had won in a statewide competition in Phoenix.

"We had three kids compete in the statewide battle of the brains in the Techathalon and they won an X Box video game," she said. "They trained a long time and did really well against the competition."

She added that the three Cottonwood students, ages 11 through 12, beat youngsters ages 17 to 18.

"That doesn't bother me as much as not having after-school snacks for the kids," she said.

Heaney said that the Torch Club Store is stocked, managed and run by club members ages 9 through 12 and supplied members with after school snacks like fruit, chips, popcorn and soda.

Heaney said that the Torch Club has donated their proceeds to worthy causes in the past.

She said that they were saving their money for a trip to Disneyland recently, but they voted instead to donate some $350 to the disaster relief fund for victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"The kids did it all. They stocked it and sold popcorn and soda for a few quarters. Now with the money stolen, we are not going to be able to order snacks until we can rebuild our funds for the store."

She added that not only will the store not be stocked, but also the video games will not be replaced.

"We're financially unable to replace these things."

Currently, the Cottonwood Boys & Girls Club has 199 members and averages 88 attendees per day.

"This club is an important aspect of the educational process after school," Heaney said. "Kids have a place to go from 2:30 to 6 until their parents get home from work."

Club members have access to a technology center offering several computer courses including Web-site design, Internet safety and computer animation in addition to physical education, arts and crafts, social building skills and counseling.

"Eighty-two percent of our kits are at-risk kids," Heaney said. "And our former members, who have grown up and are working come back and say 'this place saved my life. I'd either be dead or in jail if it weren't for this club.'"

Heaney said that she is proud of the community for helping the club stay open.

"This community has really helped us stay open when we needed help and someone comes in and rips it off," she said. "It's really sad. Kids could never afford these things in their homes and they looked forward to finishing their homework and doing these activities."

Cottonwood police are investigation this case. If you have information regarding this case, please contact Cottonwood Police Department at (928) 634-4246. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Yavapai Silent Witness at (800) 932-3232.

Anyone interested in making donations to the Cottonwood Boys & Girls Club may call the club's Branch Directory, Elizabeth Heaney at (928) 639-3057.