New programs provide scholarships to local students and hires them for afterschool jobs

May 12, 2022

Aimed to fill a big need in providing much-needed childcare, Bend Park and Recreation District is teaming up with education partners to provide area students new scholarship and employment opportunities in BPRD’s Kids Inc afterschool care program.

“Kids Inc has provided aftercare at most Bend elementary schools for more than 30 years and the need for school-age afterschool care has never been higher,” said Matt Mercer, recreation services director, Bend Park and Recreation District. “Working parents feel this need acutely and we must do more to strengthen and retain the workforce charged with this important after school enrichment activity.”

The district needs approximately 85 staff in order to increase capacity and run a quality, enriching program. Employees for these part-time positions have been difficult to recruit and retain; therefore, discussions commenced to consider how to meet staffing needs and also enable career development for individuals.

Central Oregon Community College

A new scholarship fund has been established to support Central Oregon Community College (COCC) students. A $5,250 scholarship is available to be awarded as $1,750 per academic quarter for up to 12 COCC students enrolled in at least nine credit hours per term.

Students will be hired and paid as BPRD youth recreation leaders for the school year of five shifts per week for approximately 20 hours per week in addition to the scholarship funds applied toward their higher education expenses. The current hourly pay rate begins at $18.38.

“As our students are growing in their professional development, they are eager to apply their learning to the workplace and to see how theories and practices take shape in authentic applications,” said Amy Howell, Ph.D., program director, professor of Early Childhood Education, Central Oregon Community College.  “Students are able to integrate their college coursework in the workplace in a way that benefits our communities and our courses. It’s affirming that our community partners value the work our students can bring to their vibrant programs.”

Students interested in the scholarship and employment with BPRD are encouraged to visit the BPRD webpage for details and to apply. Scholarship awards will begin immediately for the fall 2022 quarter.

Oregon State University – Cascades

A similar program has launched at Oregon State University – Cascades for up to 12 students at the growing university campus. OSU-Cascades students taking at least nine credit hours per academic term are eligible for $5,250 scholarships (awarded at $1,750 per term).  Scholarship recipients will work with BPRD Kids Inc. as youth recreation leaders for approximately 20 hours per week during the school year, earning $18+ per hour in addition to a scholarship.

“This program gives students hands-on experience in child care, recreation and leadership while working with one of the community’s most established after-school care programs,” said Jane Reynolds, executive director for financial aid and enrollment. “It prepares them to value community needs while addressing their own need for scholarship support as they pursue their bachelor’s degrees.”

OSU-Cascades students can visit  The scholarship and employment program begins in fall 2022.

Bend-La Pine Schools

High school juniors and seniors in Bend-La Pine Schools can also participate in a paid Afternoon Recreation Leader Internship. The new program, in partnership with The Future Center at each high school, will assist high school interns by aligning class schedules to enable them to be a paid BPRD employee and to receive school credit as a youth recreation intern.

The standard school schedule poses a challenge for students to be a BPRD afterschool program employee unless an open period is arranged. Students can choose between 10-hour per week and 20-hour per week options.  Interns will receive $17 per hour or more, school credit, work experience and also have summer employment opportunities.

“We are happy to partner on this program to give students interested in education an opportunity to gain valuable experience, school credit and future scholarship opportunities,” said Stephen DuVal, director of college and career readiness for Bend-La Pine Schools.

The internship will begin in fall 2022, and interested students are encouraged to visit The Future Center this spring for details.


When all college and university scholarships and high school internships are awarded, the positions will help BPRD expand the Kids INC to better meet the needs for afterschool care in the community.  To learn more visit BPRD’s education scholarships and employment programs webpage.

“This partnership between Bend Park and Rec, Bend-La Pine Schools, OSU-Cascades, and COCC allows students to experience the workplace with a new layer of intentionality and understanding,” added COCC’s Howell.

“The scholarships and internships are also investing in young adults pursuing an education in our community, some of whom will be our future teachers, youth leaders, community workers and perhaps park and recreation professionals,” added Mercer.

Other employees not currently affiliated with COCC, OSU- Cascades or Bend-La Pine School are welcomed and encouraged to work in the BPRD program too. There are year-round and school year-only positions available at