REDMOND, OR -- The Boys and Girls Clubs of Redmond/Terrebonne is moving into the next phase of program development, nine months after splitting from Bend. Executive Director Jenny O’Keefe admits things got off to a rough start when finances didn’t allow the clubs to open in September as planned. However, when they opened in October with 118 kids, she tells KBND they committed to the full school year. "What we didn’t anticipate was the tremendous growth we would experience. We had set a goal of 400 youth by the end of 2015 and we’re already creeping up on that goal. We’re several months ahead of schedule and it looks like we’re going to meet our goal of 500 youth likely by the end of 2015."
O'Keefe attributes the success to community outreach efforts, and recent grants that allowed the clubs to hire more staff, including a full-time teen director. "A lot of times when people view something as childcare there’s that sense of 'they only need to be there when I need them to be.' But now we have kids coming because they want to. And, it’s not because our programs have changed so dramatically, it’s that the culture has changed, what we’re communicating to the community has changed; helping the community see that we are more."
All of that progress was part of Phase One, and O’Keefe says it’s now time to move forward. "We’re good at what we do, but we know we can still do more. Phase Two is about involving the entire community. What do the Redmond youth need? I know there are business owners hiring our teens in the Redmond community, and I want to know from there, what are you experiencing from our high school kids? Are there gaps?"
She hopes parents and business owners will provide feedback to help them continue to tailor programs and create new partnerships. The clubs will host an open house Thursday for the public to tour the main facility, ask questions and give input. That event is 4 - 7 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Redmond/Terrebonne
at 1379 SW 15th St., Redmond.