“A place for kids to go,” was what families of Odell asked for during a community meeting in 2007, and St. Francis House, a non-profit youth drop-in center in Odell, was created to fill that request. Though the number of youth served fluctuates depending on the season, the center is busy daily and sees about 20-60 each day. We also take groups of youth on field trips, ranging from camping, to swimming, to cultural events and festivals.
St. Francis House has no religious affiliation, but instead draws its inspiration from St. Francis’ love, respect, and care for all children and animals. Rather, St. Francis House holds itself and its youth up to the standard of “creating a place where it is easier to be good,” as our motto states. We are able to do so in Odell's Historic Mid-Valley Elementary School Gym on the second floor. There is a large hardwood court in which the children play a range of activities including a lot of soccer, basketball, hockey, roller skating and tag. Around the court are flags from all around the world and heroes of cultural, scientific, and religious inspiration. The Gym also has a stage where the kids play table games, do arts and crafts, learn musical instruments, perform small theatrical productions and play educational computer games.
Remaining true to its grassroots origin, there are no paid employees of St. Francis House. A part of the responsibilities of the Jesuit Volunteer, as well as of others, is to recruit and maintain a steady schedule of volunteers. A vision for the center is that parents of youth who attend St. Francis House and other members of the community are core volunteers, who give their time and energy to keep it open and running – for the community, by the community. (Check out more about Jesuit Volunteers in Hood River here)
Financially, St. Francis House operates with several small grants, donations from private donors, and partnerships with local organizations. Donations are tax deductible and can be made to St. Francis House of Odell by sending them to the address on our donate page.
Come visit us at 3686 Davis Dr, Odell, OR 97031.