The Billy Harris Scholarship Fund is providing a way for children with little to no resources, the opportunity to get involved in organized sports. The fees for joining an organized sport, and the costs of the sports gear can prohibit a child from being able to pursue their dreams. This scholarship fund helps alleviate the stress that families endure when their child expresses an interest or has fallen in love with a sport but doesn’t otherwise have the funds available to join in. If you would like to give to the Billy Harris Scholarship Fund, you can make a check out to West Central Community Center or click the top right hand button that says Paypal and reference the Billy Harris Scholarship Fund. Stay tuned for the many stories that this Scholarship has done in the lives of Spokane youth!
As a child growing up in the surrounding area of the Community Center, my parents found it best to enroll me in the after school program. From a young age through my elementary years, I was involved with West Central. At first, I was just another kid going where my parents had placed me. I understood that every day after school I was to wait for a West Central van to pick me, followed by snack time, and then soon after my parents would arrive to take me home between the hours of 5 and 6 pm. As I grew accustom to this routine, I became comfortable with the staff and fellow kids at the center. I realized that this facility not only was a safe haven for me to spend my after school hours, but a program that instilled sound characteristics to each kid. I specifically remember the plethora of field trips we use to take during the summer sessions, the inspirational speeches that would occur from leaders, not only at the center, but in the community as well; and lastly the devote commitment each leader took towards the kids.
West Central created an environment for me to feel comfortable in my identity. Personally the staff invested time and effort into me in such a way that I felt was a key cornerstone to who I am today. More specifically, I recall countless times Rick Harris challenged me to become better. In every activity or sport we played he’d continually motivate me. He instilled confidence in me by believing that I had the ability to achieve something, even if it were on a smaller scale. West Central in accordance with Rick and his staff showed grace, compassion, and love. I truly believe that my time there had a positive impact on who I am today.
Currently, I am a peer-to-peer mentor for adults with disabilities. This job reflects similarities to those whom worked at West Central. I often times find myself in a similar role as the leaders that were over me. I know I am giving back by investing in the lives of those around me. I have worked with mentally disabled adults through Assisted Community Ties for 3 years. Although, this road is coming to an end, I am truly excited to start my new journey this fall as a Life Coach for a boarding school. I believe that because I experienced such passionate group of people that invested their time into me at such a young age in life, I was able to understand and absorb the dedication of the West Central staff. For about 6 years of my life I witnessed Rick and his staff go above and beyond for my experience to be something memorable. While it has been a memorable childhood, it has also been a life altering experience in such a subtle way. I am truly thankful for West Central Community Center being a vital role in my childhood. I will never forget my time there, nor the people that invested in me.
“Rick has impacted my family in a number of ways. He’s always been a supportive, positive role model for my son. He’s been kind, understanding, and supportive to my foster daughter and really catered to her unique needs. These gifts are invaluable and exactly the support our family needed. When my son’s father stopped paying the half of childcare payment that he was responsible for, Rick always supported me. He told me I never had to feel bad, never was responsible for his payments, and most of all, welcomed my son, even with the balance unpaid. I insisted that I needed to take care of the debt, and Rick gave me the option to volunteer to earn back some of the time my son had spent there. Without his love and support, my children wouldn’t be able to get the loving care they deserved.
Rick has spent numerous hours playing sports with my kids. He’s supported their excitement about new activities, and even provided scholarships for them to join teams through the Billy Harris Scholarship Fund. I was recently worried about my sons passion in basketball and desire to join Hoopfest, as it came during a financially difficult time. Rick came to me with a team scholarship, providing me and other single parents some relief. The boys had the nicest matching jerseys and swag items to make their experience really special.
Because of his expert community partnerships and his love for young people, so many lives have been enriched. Our family is so grateful for Rick’s selfless involvement in the community. I could never thank him enough for all he has taught me about unconditional love, gratitude and commitment. Congratulations to 25 years of greatness.”