MOSES LAKE — Kim Pope says she was a shy kid.
“You wouldn’t know it now,” she said.
And it’s true. Pope, who will start as the new chief professional officer — executive director — of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Columbia Basin on Oct. 3 is outgoing and talkative. And not at all shy.
“I worked really hard to change that aspect of myself,” she said. “I knew I would be miserable if I didn’t.”
She comes to the Boys and Girls Club after 35 years of living and working in Moses Lake, first for the Department of Children and Family Services helping families with children in the foster care system, and then at Samaritan Hospital as a fiscal analyst.
But she considers the 20 years she worked for DCFS some of the most rewarding.
“Sometimes you can make a difference, give families the power to feel better about themselves,” Pope said. “If parents felt better about themselves, that helps children feel better about themselves.”
“You don’t work (at DCFS) without having deep compassion for children,” she added.
Pope doesn’t want to change much at the club, at least not yet. She wants to settle in and work on the programs outgoing club director Brant Mayo (who just started as the director of Grant County Economic Development Council) has put in place and make them “great.”
“I want this place to be the first choice for everyone in town,” she said. “I want kids to beg to go to the Boys and Girls Club.”
The club works closely with the school district to provide kids a safe place to play, do homework or just hang out after school, at the club’s main clubhouse and its operations at Larson Heights, North, and Midway elementary schools.
“Even with those schools, the numbers at the McGraw Clubhouse are still good,” Pope said. “We’ve never done a membership drive; it’s all done by reputation.”
“And what if we’re in every elementary school?” she added.
It’s a favorite question of hers — “What if?” — and gets Pope looking at possibilities to work for in the future, such as people donating their time to the club to teach kids things like music.
And she wants her energy — her very outgoing energy — and sense of purpose to touch everyone. She wants kids, volunteers and employees to feel like going to work is the best part of their day.
“If I touched this person’s life — employee, child, parent — that made my whole day worthwhile,” Pope said. “I want a life of service to the community.”
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at email@example.com.