FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Fresno County's 21st Boys and Girls Club will offer kids another safe place to play and learn.
The years of planning ended Friday with the opening of a new club in Selma.
The party atmosphere was fitting in the city when the Boys and Girls Club opened in a neighborhood where kids have hungered for afterschool activity.
The new club is located inside the Salazar Community Center.
Club director Mark Armenta can't wait for the flood of children to come through to have some fun.
"I hope they can come here and find that it's a safe place to be, a place to learn, a place to be a kid and not have to worry about being on the streets, somebody harassing them," Armenta said.
At the center, kids will have computer access to do their homework and can play games like foosball or even basketball and four square outside.
Selma mayor Scott Robertson says the club can be very effective in reducing the gang influence in some neighborhoods.
"With the Boys and Girls club, that's really a way to prevent crime on the front lines," Robertson said. "It's going to be in a high-impact area where there is some crime in Selma, and it will help kids to give them an alternative to a gang lifestyle."
Mercedes Zamora was the first to step up.
She donated basketballs, soccer balls and footballs to the Boys and Girls Club, and she also issued a challenge to the community.
"I hope each and every one of you are listening, especially businesses, to donate $10, $20, $30 to go for the balls and ping-pong and whatever," she said. "We appreciate anything that comes in."
Club funding is provided by the Health District Board of Selma.