Posted on: March 15, 2021
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Keeping Youth Connected with School
Since the onset of the pandemic, our Clubs provide a safe and inclusive place for up to 800 youth to log on to virtual school. We manage the logistics for meeting curriculum requirements for more than 240 schools, and our 24 Clubs are open 11 hours a day.
Our talented team of youth development professionals model flexibility and resiliency for our members each day. Their work changed in the blink of eye, and throughout the pandemic, our staff serve as teachers, IT consultants, guidance counselors, and case-workers for families most impacted by COVID-19.
Community partners around the region join us to ensure that youth have the resources and caring adults needed to stay engaged with school and pursuing their bright futures, despite the challenges of COVID-19.
Microsoft and Seahawks
Nearly all of our members received tablets or laptops from their school district to make remote school more accessible. But those devices are starting to show their age, chargers can easily be forgotten, and though all our Clubs have high-speed internet, the infrastructure was not designed to have every member online at the same time, for multiple hours a day.
The Seahawks and Microsoft stepped in to help! Microsoft generously donated 300 Surface Go 2 tablets and Pens. A grant from the Seahawks Foundation shored up the Clubs’ bandwidth to ensure that spotty wi-fi isn’t a hurdle for attending school.
Blitz, the Seahawks mascot, and two stars from the Seahawks Dancers delivered the Surface Go 2 tablets and encouraged the kids to stay engaged in virtual learning as the pandemic continues to impact in-person activities at schools.
CARES Act funding
Multiple local governments supported our Clubs with CARES Act funding that helps alleviate the extra costs for families associated with COVID-19.
Most notably, King County allocated $1M to child care and youth development organizations, of which Boys & Girls Clubs of King County received $400,000. A majority of the funding went toward technology upgrades at our Clubs as well as cleaning supplies, mask, and other disease mitigating supplies.
The City of Kirkland’s funding is removing the financial barrier to Club attendance by supporting scholarships for families with limited economic means.
SE Network and Rainier Beach High School
For decades, Rainier Beach High School students and youth from across South Seattle have participated in the vibrant community at our SE Network program housed at our Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club.
Our team is expanding on this existing partnership with Rainier Beach High School and working more closely with the school’s Teen Health Center – providing on-site case management at the school and coordinating with families and community partners to provide a safety net of wraparound supports to students.
In partnership with Rainier Beach High School and other community organizations, our SE Network team created spaces for teens to vocalize, process, and understand the complex emotions induced by virtual school.
Youth leaders on Youth Action Teams are trained to facilitate restorative justice circles using trauma-informed practices with a focus on healing. Youth leaders who act as Circle Keepers facilitate all restorative justice circles for Club members. Circle Keepers ask questions about how youth are handling the trauma of the pandemic, and youth share their self-care and healing practices with one another as they work to process and start to heal.
Youth create safe space for their peers in these circles, and are learning lessons in the process. The Youth Action Team provides recommendations and advice to school administration on policies and procedures—and advocates for systems changes at the school that will positively impact the student experience and break down barriers.
Several of the school districts we partner with restarted in-person instruction. Our Clubs will continue to be flexible to best meet the needs of our community.
As always, the safety and well-being of our entire community is our top priority. We have adjusted our operations to accommodate youth who are both attending school in person and attending the Club for after school programming. Please check our website positiveplace.org for the most up-to-date information about specific Club operations.
The combination of our committed team, and the generosity of our community, continue to make it possible for 24 of our Clubs to remain open. Boys & Girls Clubs of King County is determined to do whatever it takes to support youth throughout greater King County through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.