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During the time of COVID, we have made many adaptations to our programs in order to best serve our youth and families. Below are the services we have provided:
– Enrichment Activities: Over the summer of 2020, we offered on site enrichment opportunities for limited numbers of kids ran entirely outside. Programs included: art, biking, reading, car washes to raise funds for family laundry support, and mixed martial arts.
– Learning Pods: Over the course of fall semester, we offered on site cohorts where we worked through the full school day with kids and ended the day with cycling and karate. Movement has been crucial over the course of 2020 to our youths’ mental health.
– Virtual Programs: Throughout the entire time of quarantine, we have offered daily virtual homework help and programs. These programs have included supply packs that are distributed to families. We have also partnered with the Sun Valley Kitchen to host virtual cooking classes.
– Snack Distribution: Daily healthy, snacks were delivered to the doors of all families who requested them.
– Family Outreach: We have kept consistent communication with families through phone calls, texts, emails, and home visits to hear about experiences during COVID and redevelopment and to ensure that families are well-supported.
– Laundry Quarters Distribution: Through partnership with Gleam Car Wash, we have been able to keep alive a fundraiser for families that provides laundry quarters. This means that as income changes in the pandemic, parents were still able to clean clothes and sheets.
– Virtual Music and Academic Tutoring: Youth have been paired with volunteers who specialize in the skillsets of interest to the kids.
– Family Events: We have run virtual movie nights, hosted families for outside BBQs that are socially distanced, and offered parent mindfulness workshops and a virtual family art night.
– Literacy: One of our amazing staff committed to overhauling our library to encourage book distribution. We are rolling a book wagon through the neighborhood to bring new entertainment directly to kids.
– Holiday Distributions: We managed to distribute turkey baskets and Christmas presents to hundreds of individuals!
What I like about the youth center is they’re so caring. They help you with everything! You can play with them. If you are having a hard time, if you tell them your needs, they will help you.
We are so grateful to our long-time supporters, Union Pacific Foundation, for their partnership and commitment to helping inner-city youth develop an appreciation for the outdoors. Thanks to their generosity, we’ve been able to take youth and their families biking and can sponsor students on team sports such as flag football. Thank you, Union Pacific!