The Red Barn, located just south of Key Center on the Key Peninsula, is the only afterschool program serving Key Peninsula middle and high school students. The door is open to students from other Peninsula School District schools as well. Red Barn is a nonprofit focused on providing area teens a safe place after school and offers tutoring/homework assistance, indoor/outdoor activities and programs to interest youth.
“I come back to the Red Barn because it is a really cool place for kids to hang out and play games,” said KPMS sixth-grader Rachel Aspee. "Plus, there is homework time to finish homework, snacks, drinks and loads of fun.” Classmate Madelyn Bjorn comes to the Red Barn every day “because it is fun to sit around and play games with my friends. Also, everything is free. That’s good for my parents and me."
Classmate Bobbi Worden explained, “I am 11. I go to the Red Barn because my mom works and doesn’t want to drive to the school. My dad works and can’t pick me up from school, and the Red Barn is amazing and fun."
In order to provide the free service to the community, the Red Barn is in need of volunteers to help provide a safe, supervised environment, said Laura Condon, Red Barn’s executive director.
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"We also need volunteers who have skills and interests they would like to share,” Condon said.
Josh Condon, a seventh-grader from Goodman Middle School, is Laura’s youngest son.
"He only gets to come on Fridays because his big brother drives him,” she said. "He is looking forward to the Red Barn summer program so his school friends can catch a ride with us and have some fun at the Red Barn.”
Ashlee Christiansen, a communications student at Tacoma Community College’s Gig Harbor campus, teamed up with some of her classmates and volunteered at the Red Barn as a service project.
“Financially, Red Barn gets no help from the state and is run primarily by donations and volunteers,” she said. “We helped students in sixth to 12th grade with their homework and helped make snacks for them. We watched and made sure student disagreements didn't turn physical. We still volunteer whenever we have the time."
While I was visiting recently, kids were involved in a plethora of activities, from sitting quietly at comfortable table booths studying to playing air hockey and foosball — even playing pool on a table provided by the Key Peninsula Firefighters Association. Outdoors, kids were playing basketball or catch. Because it was a Friday and not raining, some of the kids were working a fundraiser car wash. All of them were happy and having a fun time. I was impressed.
"The Red Barn is really cool and a fun place to be,” said KPMS eighth-grader Michael Hirzel. "They help you on homework and projects.”
Tyler Main, the new program coordinator, is Condon’s oldest son and an Army National Guard soldier.
He’s a real asset to the program, I might add.
"I like being here because it’s a safe place to go after school where you can be with your friends and do fun stuff,” said KPMS sixth-grader Olivia French-Lane. To classmate Rachel Aspee, "Red Barn is a fun place because you can do homework, get snacks so we aren’t hungry all the time, and do other cool things like play pool, football, soccer, basketball and more. You can hang out with Tyler, the cool one, and Laura, the inspirational one."
The Red Barn needs volunteers to help with homework, snack preparation, sign in table, and indoor/outdoor monitors.
“Eventually, we’ll want volunteers to teach art, music, or whatever they can share,” Condon said. “We need people who care about the future of our kids and can donate a bit of their time.”
“The Red Barn is the most amazing place ever,” declared KPMS sixth-grader Kaitlyn Tucker. “It has fun games and amazing food and snacks. Also, you can hang-out with your friends and meet new people.”
Those interested in volunteering with the Red Barn can call 253-884-1594 or 915-309-6440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please stop by the Red Barn to fill out a volunteer packet. For more information, visit www.redbarnkp.org.