Goleta Magazine 2018 - 26

non-profit to note

MICHAEL BAKER

Making Strides and
Changing Lives at the
Boys and Girls Club
Pictured opposite page:
CEO Michael Baker at the
United Boys & Girls Club
Goleta Clubhouse.

G R O W I N G U P T H E Y O U N G E S T of five boys in
Upstate New York, Michael Baker didn't envision attending
college. His family was poor and his mother suffered from
mental illness.
Baker, now the CEO of United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa
Barbara County, was wrong.
He did attend college, and it was during those early years of
his adult life that he found his passion-never looking back.
In September, Baker will celebrate 30 years with the Boys &
Girls Clubs of America.
Baker was introduced to the organization as a youth and
then again in college when he needed elective classes. He
opted to work at what was then called the Albany Boys Club,
thinking it would be an "easy A."
"The second I walked in, I knew it was what I was going
to do for the rest of my life," he said. "I got addicted to the
place. I loved it."
His experience at the club also spurred him to change his
major midway through college to African American History.
He worked in New Jersey for three years after graduation and then in Washington, D.C., before relocating
to the West Coast, where he spent 15 years as an
organization executive in Anaheim. He made
the move to the lead the Central Coast clubs
in early 2015.

"I love it," he said. "It was the best move I ever made. My
favorite day of the week is Monday because it's another day
to start over and you get that chance to change."
Baker said all of the United Boys & Girls Clubs sites in Santa
Barbara County-Goleta, Buellton, Carpinteria, Lompoc,
Westside Santa Barbara and Camp Whittier-are special,
but he noted Goleta is the organization's oldest facility.
"Because of that long history, I meet adults and professionals every day who say their lives were changed at the Goleta
Boys and Girls Club."
"Each club is unique," he said, adding that the Goleta Boys &
Girls Club serves a couple of hundred youths daily.
Bakers impact on the clubs has been significant. Over the
last two years, club members have collectively made 15,889
visits to club locations. Those same members have participated in 2,785 cumulative hours of educational programming. Together, the clubs have served 35,010 meals. No
child is ever turned away due to their economic situation.
"When you walk into that club, it hits you like a punch in the
face-the need," he exclaimed. "What would these 200 kids
be doing without this building?"
Baker and his wife, Marian, have been married for 28 years
and have three sons. They live in Buellton.

B Y A P R I L C H A R LT O N , N O OZ H A W K S TA F F W R I T E R

26

GOLETA MAGAZINE

GoletaChamber.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Goleta Magazine 2018

Contents
Goleta Magazine 2018 - 1
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