As we better understand the overall impact of COVID-19 on our youth, Clubs continue to support communities during the pandemic – from meeting basic needs to supporting youth mental health and academic success.
For 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs have navigated times of tragedy and crisis to provide safe places for kids and teens. During the coronavirus pandemic, Clubs continue to do what they’ve always done – serve as an anchor for communities across the nation.
At the start of the pandemic, Clubs transformed their operations and shifted efforts to support basic needs like meals and snacks, virtual learning labs for students without digital access at home, and childcare for frontline workers. Through generous support from caring donors and partners, Clubs have been able to be agile in uplifting their youth and communities during this crisis.
Now two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the support that Club youth and staff need has changed. While some communities are still working to provide basic needs like meal programs, many are seeking mental health support for youth, academic assistance to help students get back on track, and social connection and mentorship for kids and teens.
Throughout it all and in the months ahead, Boys & Girls Clubs will continue to do whatever it takes to provide young people with safe spaces, caring mentors and life-enhancing programs.
Like many Clubs at the beginning of the pandemic, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities closed for youth programming in accordance with the state’s COVID-19 mandates. But knowing the needs of youth and families persisted, they provided more than 700 families with over 50,000 meals. Nearly 5,000 family wellness check-ins were conducted, focusing on families’ immediate needs related to shelter, food, technology and medical care (both physical and mental).
At Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties, the majority of their locations remained open to offer emergency childcare for essential workers. “If a worker is essential during this time, so is their child,” said Brian Ace, executive director. The Club extended their ongoing emergency childcare services and refocused staff time to family support services, including food distribution to Club member homes and distance learning support – delivering food boxes with food, household items, toys and educational materials to the front doors of more than 250 families each week.
As the pandemic shifts and we begin to understand its impact on our kids and teens, it is more important than ever to build and maintain trust within local communities – and lean into the old idiom “it takes a village to raise a child.”
The Club is an essential part of that village, says Denieka Wicker, Senior Director of Operations of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. Now two years into the pandemic, her Club continues to be a place the community can turn to, no matter what’s happening. Below, she shares how her Club maintains the trust of the local community.
Boys & Girls Clubs are continuing to adapt services to meet the needs of kids right now, including:
No matter the need, Clubs do whatever it takes to help support youth and their communities during this pandemic and beyond.
Donate now to give more kids and teens safe spaces, caring mentors and life-enhancing programs.