Kids Club of Harney County originated as the Boys and Girls Club of Harney County in 2001, established by a group of local volunteers who believed a national youth organization could help establish a much needed program for our youth. After a few years, the board and staff realized that a more local approach, using what had been learned from the Boys and Girls Club organization, allowed for more flexibility and responsiveness in meeting community needs, and Kids Club of Harney County (Kids Club), was born. We are proud to have developed robust relationships with schools, agencies, and organizations that allow us to provide services and programs that serve over 250 young people annually. An average of 70-80 children between 3 & 18 attend our various programs on a regular basis. This community is faced with little to do for its children, especially after school, early evenings, and no-school Fridays. This is where Kids Club of Harney County steps in to fill a void by operating and remaining open during these critical times. Since the club’s opening in 2001, there has been a significant drop in youth crimes. We enjoy providing a safe and enjoyable place for children, K-5th grade, in our Out of School Enrichment Program which takes place after school and on Fridays, and Kids Club has also expanded into our local schools to meet a need for afterschool homework help and mentoring. Kids Club of Harney County continues to maximize its human and financial resources to reach more young people in need. Our commitment to growth and quality is based on concern for disadvantaged youth as well as the local interest. These boys and girls will soon become the driving force of Harney County’s economy. By aiding their development, the entire community benefits.
Kids Club’s focus on out of school programming is no coincidence. A wealth of educational research has highlighted a positive relationship between high-quality out-of-school time programs and student success. According to the Afterschool Alliance, (May, 2016), juvenile crime and victimization peaks in the hours after school, but children who participate in safe, supervised afterschool programs are discouraged from negative behaviors such as aggression and drug and alcohol use. Further, Afterschool Alliance states that students in high-quality afterschool programs have better attendance, behavior, grades, and test scores compared to their non-participating peers. These finding are corroborated by recent studies of 21st Century Community Learning Centers (a U.S. Department of Education program) which have shown that school attendance, behavior and grade promotion improve for students participating in high-quality programs. Such programs can also can boost social-emotional skills in addition to improved academic performance, which in turn increases the likelihood of high school graduation.