From 1971 until now.
Jerry coordinated week-long hikes and camping for the youth. For two years, he also helped the youth organize a party company, Impulse Productions, which held dances at the local Elks Club to raise money for their own recreational expenses. Jerry worked to get the program accredited by the youth care association. Throughout these years, money was always scarce. Board members frequently went to Salem to lobby on NDI’s behalf. People from other organizations around the state would come to visit as ours was considered a model program.
The biggest move Michael made was changing the program from a residential treatment facility into a therapeutic foster care program in the mid-1990s. The program became co-ed once again. Youth began living in specially trained foster homes and coming to the Klahre House for treatment and schooling during the day. Current staff members who began at NDI during this time include Derryll Dexter, Ralph Kupersmith and David Dye. NDI Board Member, Kelly Beard, worked with them at Klahre House.
Michael was a firm believer in outdoor activities as well. He had a ropes course and taught the youth to rappel, which he used as a metaphor for change; fearing, then trusting, then acting—resulting in a clear difference from when one started at the top of the cliff. He also valued the therapeutic use of music, poetry and storytelling.
It was also in 2002 that Bob helped Nuestra Comunidad Sana (NCS) join NDI. After being a separate non-profit agency for four years, board members of NCS approached NDI to merge. This health promotion program had begun at La Clinica del Cariño in 1988 as El Niño Sano, one of the first programs in the country to train and utilize community health promoters to provide health and prevention services to Latino families and children. Maria Antoñia Sánchez was one of the first health promoters to work in this program. She and Joel Pelayo remain at NCS as Lead Health Promoters.
Also in 2007, Janet Hamada was promoted from Program Manager of NCS to Executive Director of the Next Door.
Janet Hamada, our Executive Director, oversees four program managers who direct four main areas:
• Larry James, Treatment Services: Klahre House, Foster Care, Independent Living Program, Oregon Trail Transitional Living, & Community Attention Home
• Karen Enns, New Parent Services of Hood River County and Families First of Wasco County
• Kristin Reese, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Gorge
• Jody O’Connor, Nuestra Comunidad Sana and Youth & Family Services
We are certainly proud of how this agency has served the people in our communities over the past four decades and look forward to many more years of providing assistance and leadership.