ROY — After school at the Roy Hope Community Center when about 150 kids first arrive for extracurricular activities, there’s a lot of noise.
It’s hard to imagine these kids could be happier as they arrive from one of 11 different elementary schools — including 10 in Roy and one in Riverdale — and line up for tutoring or club activities of their interest.
All the excitement is part of the plan for success, said Kate Bideaux, executive director and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Weber-Davis.
“It needs to look and feel different from school,” Bideaux said. “Our goal is to provide them with a safe, fun place.”
Happy kids are open to mentoring, Bideaux said. She hopes to be able to provide those in the program with role models.
The Roy Hope Community Center, located at 5051 S. 1900 West, behind the city offices and in the same building as the Roy Hillside Senior Center, is the largest site for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weber-Davis.
There’s only one way Bideaux would like for the program to improve. She’d like to get more kids off waitlists so they can join in.
“I hate to have families wondering what to do with their kids,” said Kate Bideaux, executive director and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Weber-Davis.
Bideaux said there is a need for the program to serve a greater area and to overcome limits in the areas now served.
In addition to the seven sites where the program now serves 400 children a day and 3,000 different children a year in Roy, Clearfield and Ogden, Bideaux would like to see the program expand to places like Washington Terrace, South Ogden and North Ogden.
She’s always looking to expand wherever she can.
One example happened this week.
At Odyssey Elementary School, there are 75 kids budgeted for the program, yet about 85 kids were attending every day. Bideaux said she just added another staff person to allow for serving 90 kids.
Other locations for the program include Hillcrest Elementary, Quest Academy and New Bridge Elementary schools.
Summer teen programs are held at the Roy site, Odyssey Elementary School, the Marshall White Center and this year there is a plan for a program in a Layton park.
Bideaux points to national statistics from a 2015 study where she said 50 percent of alumni interviewed said the Boys & Girls Clubs saved their lives.
Roy Site Coordinator Lana Pettit said she’s seen first-hand how a little individual attention can go a long way.
“A lot of kids don’t come from the best environments,” Pettit said. “They just need someone to pay attention to them.”
Destiny DeHerrera, a senior at Roy High School, is one of seven reading and math tutors at the Roy site.
She said she couldn’t be happier with her job, which runs for a few hours every day after school. The position is funded through the AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer program. She will be paid a $3,000 educational stipend for college when she finishes in September in addition to her wages.
“The kids start to look up to you,” DeHerrera said. “They start giving you art projects. They start confiding in you.”
Besides getting a paycheck, DeHerrera said she enjoys the opportunity to pay back the help she received when she was younger.
“When I was a kid, I got extra help,” she said. “It pushed me ahead.”
With college in her future, DeHerrera said she also appreciates the leadership and patience she’s learned from the program.
“What I love about the program is that these kids who are tutoring, it’s for them too,” Pettit said. “They learn a lot from these little guys.”
At graduation time, Pettit said the Roy Hope Community Center staff makes a large effort to recognize the senior students who are tutors in the program through posting their pictures on the wall and other activities.
Bideaux said there are many ways concerned area residents may help the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weber-Davis.
Area residents can volunteer, give in-kind donations, shop with loyalty rewards programs that benefit the program or donate money.
She said while it costs $3,200 to serve a child in the program for a year, the most families are charged is $600.
The difference, Bideaux said, is made up through extensive fundraising.
Those whose parents are unable to pay or who refuse to pay, still are served, Bideaux said.
“We never, ever turn a child away,” she said.
For more information, visit bgcweberdavis.org or call 801-627-2071.