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 COVID-19 relief grants from caring donors and partners such as the Coca-Cola Foundation, Clubs have been able to properly support and uplift their youth and communities during this crisis.
And as the pandemic continues and evolves, Clubs are reopening their doors for in-person programming, maintaining hybrid in-person and virtual environments, helping kids get back on track academically and providing mental health support to address the stress of a multi-year pandemic on kids and teens.
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 the 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).
“Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities is doing everything possible to keep our kids, staff, and volunteers protected from the spread of COVID-19,” said Shannon Mattson, vice president of development & communications. “We also have a responsibility during this time to increase support for our families as they now face additional challenges with school closures, work disruptions, and potential illness and health concerns. We have been connecting with each one of our families to make sure they have the support they need while also working in small virtual teams to strengthen and enhance curriculum, lesson plans, and general Club operations.”
As each Boys & Girls Club across the country serves the unique needs of its members and community, the majority of Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties 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 evolves, 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.