267 S. Egan Burns, OR 97720 541-573-7036
Through dedication to our mission statement, Kids Club of Harney County has grown to the bursting point and our facility is no longer big enough to serve all the youth that need us. We have had a “not being served” list for four years now and it never seems to get any shorter. Harney County youth need a place to go during the out of school time of the day where they have access to homework help, science activities, art, music, a gymnasium for more physical activities, nutrition education, and much more. In addition, our community has many issues when it comes to serving youth and we are unable to help effectively because of space constraints.
Some of Harney County’s issues in serving youth are: sports teams don't have enough gym space to practice; a huge need for healthy afterschool care for all ages; our teens don't have a consistent, safe, and healthy place they can "hang out"; families aren’t able to receive preschool services due to lack of capacity; a high youth obesity rate; a 20% poverty rate (compared to the state average of 14%) with a free and reduced lunch rate at 64.2%; very little art and music for youth; and too many more issues to list. The Kids Club is the only year round, out of school program in the county, and our facility is too small to serve all the kids that need us. Building a larger facility will allow us to positively impact many of the issues affecting our youth. The new gymnasium will allow sports teams an additional space to practice, basketball and volleyball tournaments can be held which would help with economic stability, we would increase employment opportunities at the Kids Club, we would start a new gymnastics program along with other youth activities that are not being offered, and youth would also have access to the gym multiple times per week to increase their activity levels. This facility would also have a separate area for teens and another for tweens, where they can be themselves and have a safe hang out with adult supervision and guidance. It would house all of our existing programs, include an art room, and the gym could be turned into a dining area and host large events. The kitchen would open into a small café area where youth can do their homework or hang out with their friends or moms can sit and watch their toddlers during a tumbling class. The kitchen would also open up into the gym allowing it to be a concession stand during sporting events, fundraising events, concerts, etc.
To get us started on a larger facility, the Timms family generously donated long-held land and a building in honor of the late Eugene “Geno” Timms, who served as an advocate for rural health in the Oregon State Senate. This donation starts us well on our way to a new facility, which will also serve as a memorial to his legacy. Once the facility is completed, our ultimate goal is to provide “one stop shopping” for information and services on all youth programs and activities regardless if they are “our” programs or other organizations. Another project goal is to increase the number of kids utilizing our programs in order to provide them with healthy meals, homework help, nutrition education, and increases in activity levels. The long-term goals are to lower our youth obesity rates, increase graduation rates, and give the youth in our county somewhere that they can be proud of and call their own.
Kids Club has been writing grants and collaborating with foundations and multiple businesses in town to raise the additional funds needed to complete this project. Construction of the gym portion of the building is expected to being spring/summer of 2018.