In September 1945, Jerry Lyons, a youth-minded citizen, and Father Manuel Alvernaz organized a group of boys into an informal recreational organization. The St. Joseph’s Hall, which belonged to the St. Leander Parish, was used as the site for activities. By January 1946, the Club was organized into a Boys’ Club with a membership of 25 boys.
With the help of many parents, and the San Leandro Police Department, an Advisory Board was organized to handle all Club business and to raise finances. The only source of income for the activities was benefit shows, local merchants and friends. The membership increased to 200. The Advisory Board then formed a non-profit corporation. Articles of Incorporation were filed in the office of California Secretary of State on July 8, 1947. The Articles were also filed in the Office of the County Clerk of Alameda County on July 17, l947.
Boys’ Clubs of America, a national organization headed by former President Herbert Hoover, accepted the San Leandro Boys’ Club as a member unit on July 28, 1948. The pastor of the St. Leander’s Parish, where St. Joseph’s Hall housed the Boys’ Club, became Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Boys’ Club was open to all boys, regardless of race, color or creed. Membership in the Boys’ Clubs of America necessitated this open-door policy.
On January 21, 1957 the City Council leased the Boys’ Club a portion of Estudillo Park (100 ft. by 300 ft.) for $1 a year. As the building site was 80 years old and really not functional, plans were made for were then made for a Building Fund Campaign to be held from March 12 through April 11, 1957. A goal of approximately $150,000 was set for the construction of a modern building. The building was open to the boys on September 26, 1960 the day following the dedication ceremonies.
On March 20, 1961 a Steering Committee headed up by Mayor Jack Maltester and Abe Kofman, publisher of the San Leandro Morning News, was organized to raise funds to construct a swimming pool as a memorial to Captain Steve P. Lagomarsino, a co-founder of the Boys’ Club who passed away ten days prior. A modern Olympic-size swimming pool was constructed and dedicated on September 23, 1961.
The building at 677 Davis St. was razed in May 1966 to make way for a Rapid Transit District station. The Boys’ Club entered into a lease with the City of San Leandro for property located at 401 Marina Blvd. to construct a new facility with funds received from the Rapid Transit District to replace the building. The Boys’ Club received the sum of $450,450 from the Bay Area Rapid Transit District. The Boys’ Club entered into a contract with A.S. Holmes & Son to construct a new Club. The new Boys’ Club building at 401 Marina Blvd. was dedicated on November 22, 1966.
Notable events since then:
- 1991 – Boys Clubs of America becomes coed and changes name to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Following their lead, we also became a coed program and changed our name to the San Leandro Boys & Girls Club.
- May 17, 1997 – Club celebrates 50thAnniversary
- June 17, 1997 – Hillside Unit opens
- January 1998 – Robert Glotch becomes Executive Director
- May 1998 – Renovation of Offices / new Computer Lab completed
- February 1999 – First Auction Gala nets 47K
- July 2002 – Locker room renovation completed
- May 2004 – New Landscaping completed by Rotary Club
- November 2004 – Hesperian School Program begins
- January 2007 – Prop. 49 / A.S.E.S. Programs begin, increasing our number of service sites to six (6). The BGCSL literally doubles in size and scope within a six month period. Our sites included Marina (serving McKinley School); Hillside, Hesperian, Colonial Acres, Lorenzo Manor elementary Schools and Edendale Middle School.
- September 2008, San Leandro Unified School District contracted with us to be their A.S.E.S. program providers. The Club added another seven (7) service sites bringing the total to 12 – four (4) in S.Lz.U.S.D. and eight (8) in S.L.U.S.D. The Club had doubled in size for the 2ndtime in two years and was serving 1200 kids every day after school. The Club now employees over 90 people.