After 25 years at the Ballard Boys and Girls Club, Director Mark Hendricks will be transferring to Federal Way.
Longtime Ballard Boys & Girls Club director given order to transfer to Federal Way
After serving the Ballard community for 25 years and becoming an integral part of the community, Ballard Boys and Girls Club Director Mark Hendricks found out that he is shipping off to Federal Way.
On Wednesday, an email was sent out to staff saying that Hendricks would be leaving in 48 hours and that they would see a new director. That new director, in an old-styled switcheroo, will be long-time Federal Way Boys and Girls Club Director Shelley Puariea.
In a phone interview, President/CEO of Boys and Girls Club of King County Calvin Lyons said that the switch was not meant to be a bad thing.
"We want to do what's best for them (kids) across King County," he said. "I’m saying both of the leaders have strengths that can play well where the other players have been."
He did not specify, though, what those strengths were.
The Ballard News-Tribune was not allowed in the meeting earlier today announcing the change, but was able to receive details about what happened from two people who attended, Katrina Sigurdson and Stephen Howey. Both had grown up participating in Boys and Girls Club -- with Hendricks as their mentor -- volunteered and worked there in high school, and have actively worked with the club in a variety of ways ever since.
Lyons said at the meeting that Hendricks was good at identifying and finding alternative streams of funding. Howey said he got the impression that Federal Way was lacking that component.
On the other hand, Lyons said that Puariea was good at getting kids to graduate from high school. However, staff at the meeting were quick to note that all of the children from last year in the Ballard Boys & Girls Club graduated from high school, and most went on to higher education, Howey said.
"He never truly identified why Shelley should come to Ballard," Howey said.
Overall, Lyons did not seem clear about specifics at the meeting, according to both Sigurdson and Howey. Likewise, during the phone interview with BNT, he said he could not touch on specifics because it was all "internal."
Objection to the decision was practically unanimous at the meeting.
“I don’t agree with this decision," Sigurdson said. "We don’t think this is beneficial to our community and our kids.”
Sigurdson and Howey were disappointed in the process of the decision. There was no forewarning or collaboration with parents. "(It was) just like, 'Bam! Your director for 25 years is leaving,' " Sigurdson said.
Lyons said that he was "excited" that so many people were expressing such concern.
“I think change is difficult in any situation ... in any organization,” Lyons said. But he still seemed convinced that his decision was the correct one. “It gives us the opportunity to serve more kids in a deeper way.”
Both Sigurdson and Howey said that Hendricks would not have made the decision himself, that it was thrust upon him.
"I can tell you just by knowing him and talking to him that this is just throwing him inside," Howey said. "He is this community and he will be the first person to tell you that."
During his tenure in Ballard, Hendricks has done a lot to develop the club, including a complete remodel and expansion of the building, introducing the Graduation Assistance Impacting Needy Students (GAINS) program at Ballard High School and attaining funding for various programs.
Every source that the Ballard News-Tribune spoke to, some who could not go on record about the decision, universally expressed love for Hendricks and were sad and disappointed to see him go.
“It’s emotional. Since I found out this morning, it’s just been a rollercoaster ... emotions are high," Sigurdson said. She said that staff and board members were crying. “It’s hard, definite; it’s hard hard hard hard.”