By Michael Pineda
If members of the non-profit group Power of 100 Canadian County have a Santa Claus complex, it would be hard to blame them.
They go around and spread an awful lot of cheer.
Monday morning, members of Power of 100 presented Youth and Family Services with a check for $17,300. The presentation was followed up by a tour of the facilities.
YFS Executive Director John Schneider described his reaction as surprised by the check presentation.
“I didn’t realize it would be this much,” he said. “It’s a very generous gift, a little bit overwhelming actually.”
As she presented the check, Tammy McKee, one of the Power of 100 founding members, recalled the presentation from Youth & Family Services Community Outreach Lead Carol Plemmons to the group.
McKee said Youth & Family Services does beautiful work and gives so much back to kids in the community.
“We knew when it was nominated, the group would vote for it,” she said.
The vote was unanimous, leading to the check presentation.
“This is huge,” Schneider said. “Our annual budget is about $2 million a year. The only way we can hit that number every year is through community support and community partners. That is anywhere from individuals, churches and groups like this that make it happen. All the services they saw today and the kids in the shelter, we literally could not do that without the support of people, things like this.”
The Power of 100 presents checks to non-profit organizations on a quarterly basis. Recipients are voted on by membership.
Tresa Smith, who is also a founding member, was particularly excited to see Youth & Family Services named as the recipient.
“My mother (Pam Wyrick) worked for this facility, before it was this facility, in El Reno on Sunset close to the bowling alley,” Smith said. “I just have really enjoyed seeing how the progress has been made and continues to be made to this day.”
Smith said the group had been told the donation would go toward helping train additional foster families.
“There is a great need for foster care, as you are well aware, especially in Canadian County, and so they can recruit and train more foster care families,” she said.
Schneider and Plemmons took Power of 100 members on a tour of the offices and shelter. The shelter currently houses four and can host five or six children as they prepare to enter foster care. Schneider said that number used to be 10 to 12 but the growth of the foster program allows Youth & Family Services to place more kids with families. There are typically 25 to 30 children in foster care.
Children that stay at the shelter are housed anywhere for a couple of weeks to as long as a year.
Schneider said the gift from Power of 100 allows Youth & Family Services to make up for a budget shortfall. The facility receives nine months of funding and must raise funds to make up the other three months of operations.
“There is a portion of our budget every year that we do not know where it’s coming from,” he said. “We literally can’t serve kids in every space we have without dollars like this.”
The tour and information provided allowed Power of 100 to see how their dollars work and left an impression.
“I was reassured in the fact the facility is always pretty progressive,” Smith said. “They are thinking about a holistic approach to treatment of kids and meeting them where they are for their needs, no matter what their needs are – emotionally, socially, educationally, needs for physical well-being. It does your heart good to see all the good work being done here in Canadian County for the betterment of our kids.”