Maria’s Potential

Maria’s match with her Big Sister, Amanda, closed this summer. Maria was matched with Amanda as a 5th grader, more than eight years ago.  One of the first activities they participated in together was a STEM night sponsored by Bend Research. They met a scientist working in a real lab and learned about the research and experiments he was working on. With Amanda, Maria was able to experience many firsts: Her first Bend Elks Game, attending the Nutcracker in person, and riding a horse. Maria wanted other kids to have these same opportunities so she spread the word and both her younger sister and cousin were matched with mentors in the program.  

Over the eight years, Maria flourished; exhibiting compassion and excitement to learn new things and explore new places. She also developed a passion for helping others. She participated in the 8+9 mentoring program which supports middle schoolers transition into High school. In High School, Maria attended MUSE Camp, a summer camp that intends to empower girls by encouraging them to find their voices, move their bodies, and make a difference in themselves as well as the world around them. 

Though the match ended this summer in preparation for Maria’s departure to Portland State University, she and Amanda will always be connected.

Mentoring improves the lives and futures of kids well beyond childhood. We are proud of everything Maria has accomplished, and know that she heads into adulthood knowing the potential she carries. We are grateful for Amanda, and all of our Big Brothers and Big Sisters who ignite and defend the potential in every child. 

Little Libraries Project

Little Libraries from The Academy at Sisters will be in an online auction, ending October 1st.

Over the summer school term, the students at The Academy at Sisters have immersed themselves in learning about social causes. Their course explored an array of contemporary and classic social justice artists who have used creative writing, performance, and visual art as tools for social change. Students then had the chance to practice implementing the creative writing techniques and strategies they were introduced to as they crafted their own writing and created original social cause installations.

As their final for this class, the girls at the Academy created ‘Little Libraries,’ each designed to highlight the social cause issue of their choice, which will be auctioned off this month. Topics they chose included youth homelessness, substance abuse and addiction, and human trafficking, to name a few.

Half of the funds raised from the sale of the libraries will be donated to non-profits of the student’s collective choosing, and the remaining half will be used to purchase books that will be available to the students through the School House library next year.

This means that you will have the opportunity to have a piece of social cause art in your front yard!

The online auction opens September 15th, and closes October 1st at noon, online at It will also include several items created by youth in the J Bar J Boys Ranch Vocational Program. Purchases of those items will help fund materials for new projects in that program. 

Building Skills

The boys in the J Bar J Vocational Training Program have been getting hands on experience AND helping the community by joining the build of Veterans Village. In coordination with The Bend Heroes Foundation J Bar J youth have framed, walled and are now wrapping the exteriors of the 12 small cabins that create the Village. The J Bar J youth have worked alongside Rotarians, Hayden Homes, Mid State Construction, Boy Scouts, Heart of Oregon Youth, and present and past community leaders such as Representative Jack Zika and former Representative Cheri Helt. This exposure is valuable and is exactly what is needed to help these students prepare to be contributing members of our communities.

Horse Show Success!

The return to a normal horse show was a winding path. As with all things COVID there were many sudden changes and sharp turns. Luckily equine competition is social distanced by nature and largely outdoors so it continued through the pandemic while other activities were limited.  We navigated the changes and delivered a great experience to the exhibitors who were ready to show again in central Oregon.

The Oregon High Desert Classics (OHDC) is our largest annual fundraiser, and is unique in being a national equestrian event that is not operated by an equine facility. Every July the Boys Ranch east of Bend transforms our field into a showground that hosts 700 horses and riders!

In 2019 Paul Jewel was hired as the new show manager. This summer was his first year holding the reins. He brought many new ideas and his calm warmth set a tone that merged with the joy everyone felt about the return of camaraderie, competition, and longstanding traditions, to make it a truly wonderful show. 

Many local businesses stepped up to support the event, knowing that it funds our programs for at risk youth, and many stables, breeders, and equine facilities joined in to support.

We are very grateful to the local companies who stepped up and supported us this year. Thank you Robberson Ford, Cascade Sotheby’s International Real Estate, Shevlin Sand & Gravel, Morgan Stanley Schroeder Fain Group, Les Schwab Tires, Horseplay, and many others. For a full list see  

Their sponsorship made OHDC 2021 a success and enables us to continue our work helping youth throughout Central Oregon!  

Support Us at Roam

Oxford Hotel is opening a new restaurant, Roam, and before opening to the public will host a dinner supporting J Bar J Youth Services! Roam will be at street level just to the West of the main entrance to the Oxford downtown. We are excited they chose us as the beneficiary of this pre-grand opening, and are grateful to them as a longstanding supporter of J Bar J.

RSVP by sending an email to (Note this is an updated email, sorry for any confusion!) with your preferred timeframe [5-7p or 7-9p]. Reservations must be in by Tuesday, 9/28All dinner proceeds will go to J Bar J to help youth create change in Central Oregon. We hope you can join us for this exciting event!