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.
Increase Study Habits/Academics~
In today’s society, kids are drawn to multiple sources of entertainment easily accessible on a daily basis: television, social media, and on-line games. Time spent watching, interacting, or playing games or on social media is time diverted from active learning, healthy social interaction, and physical activity. It is our opinion at Kids Club that this diversion from consistent study and reading, healthy activity, and face-to-face interactions with peers leads to long-term poor habits. We believe the ultimate consequence is missed opportunities for kids to learn and to reach their potential in life.
Kids Club of Harney County is committed to developing good study habits and lifestyle choices early on. We believe the club can have an impact by working with the schools and other community entities to share resources, by directly providing guided alternatives and play, and by actively demonstrating better choices. We provide opportunities to help kids with their homework, introduce fun ways to stay healthy and fit, encourage reading, and generally create a positive learning environment that also stresses good citizenship, health, and personal responsibility.
Promote Healthy Lifestyles~
Kids Club realizes the realities of daily life. Parents must sometimes work multiple jobs to support their families. Parents may not have the luxury of spending the amount of quality time it takes to develop the healthy lifestyles and consistent study habits we all want our kids to have. The pressures of today’s society are as great as ever but the realities are what they are.
We not only address the issues of our youth, but we’re also committed to impacting and/or reversing the negative trends taking place. We understand that childhood obesity, poor study habits, striving for “clean fun”, and general life skills such as conflict resolution and taking responsibility for one’s own actions as only a few of the tremendous challenge facing kids today. Kids Club is dedicated to leading by example and implementing an everyday program that educates, promotes and institutes activities that keep kids busy and incorporates healthy living in all aspects of the club. The goal of the Kids Club is to promote and develop healthy habits and healthy lifestyles by focusing on nutrition, physical activity and minimizing “screen time” in addition to academic support.
Current Organizational Staffing Statistics:
•3 Full-time staff •12 Part-time staff (including 5 certified teachers and 2 paraprofessionals) •7 steady, year round volunteers •30 volunteers annually •7 board members •Weekly Average Attendance: 145
Out of School Enrichment Activites:
•Drug and Alcohol Prevention •Nutrition Counseling Education •Homework help •Monthly Tai Kwan Do •Outdoor activities such as relay races, basketball, gardening & guided free play •Arts & Crafts •Fun & Games •Basic cooking and life skills •Sewing classes •Cultural Awareness through the Culinary Arts •Bullying Awareness and Prevention •Road Runners Running Club (children run an average of 6 miles per week and the program is for 2nd through 5th grade youth) •Outdoor School opportunities (in cooperation with six different federal and local organizations) •Science Academy •Art Camp
Kids Club Expected Outcomes:
•Improved study skills – Higher grades and better academic performance •Increased social skills – Increased ability to communicate clearly, broader scope of knowledge and improved behavior •Increased knowledge of other cultures •Self-esteem – increased confidence for individual achievement and personal responsibility •Mentoring Skills – Higher level of understanding and ability for staff & mentors/volunteers to work effectively with the kids.
Current Barriers: Our current barriers are demonstrated by our youth substance use and dropout rates. Recent data trends have shown that by the 8th grade too many children who began middle schools as substance free, innocent 6th graders have begun experimenting with drugs, alcohol and other risky behaviors. One consequence is shown in our rising dropout rate. In School District #3 the rate for students not completing school went from 4.03% in 2010 to 6.8% in 2011 to 13.9% in 2012. Our community is located 135 miles from the closest communities such as Bend or Ontario and 200 to 300 miles to the nearest cities such as Portland, Oregon or Boise, Idaho. Our isolation means limited venues to promote cultural awareness and growth and no access to art, history or science museums. Other barriers include a lack of ethnic diversity, (90% Caucasian, 2.5% Native American, 3.5% Latino) and that we consistently have one of the largest unemployment rates in the state which limits access to resources and educational opportunities available in more affluent communities.
Building Capacity by Expanding and Growing Our Programs: Kids Club of Harney County is thriving and is able to provide valuable programs consistently. We have experienced staff, committed volunteers, and strong community relationships. Because of that, we are now ready to expand and grow our programming to increase the number and age group of youth we serve and increase parent involvement. Our ultimate goal with these additions is to decrease behavioral referrals and increase school attendance, graduation rates, and grades by providing more opportunities for positive youth and family development.
Call to inquire about any of the programs we offer:
* Out of School Enrichment (OSE)--K-5th grades
* Youth Leadership Volunteer Program--6th-12th grade volunteering in our OSE program
* Little Learners Enrichment Center--preschool program for youth 3 to 5 yr
* Homework Heroes--offered at Slater Elementary for 3rd-5th grades
* Friday Academy--offered at Hines Middle School for 6th-8th grades
* Kids in the Middle--mentoring program for 6th-9th grade youth
* Geno Timms Scholarship Fund--Burns High School seniors