Virtual Programming, Community Hubs and More
Oct 5, 2020
With the fall term in full swing, our team is hard at work running virtual youth programs and in-person Community Hubs in the Richmond District. Ranging from take-home enrichment activities and social spaces to academic and social-emotional support, we’re continuing to roll out new offerings throughout the school year.
Youth programming is more important than ever this year, with students and families adjusting to distance learning and the challenges of life in a pandemic. For low-income families and students with special needs, those challenges are even more pronounced.
We’re excited to be partnering with the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF) and the San Francisco Public Library to provide safe, equitable, in-person support for our highest-need students in the neighborhood. Our Richmond District Community Hub opened this week at the Richmond Branch library, providing a place where students can get access to the technology they need for distance learning and the academic support they need to thrive.
To ensure safety, we’re starting with small cohorts of participants and taking precautions in accordance with Department of Public Health recommendations, including:
- Masks and additional PPE for all staff
- Regular testing for all staff
- Masks for all participants
- Maintaining social distancing for all participants, including dividers between work spaces
- Regular cleaning of all Community Hub spaces
The health of our participants and staff is our first priority, and we will continue to adapt our safety measures as needed.
School has always been an important place for social connections and friendship, but with distance learning, it can be difficult for students to feel connected to their friends and peers during the school day. To help support participants dealing with feelings of isolation and stress this fall, our virtual school-day and after-school programs have put an emphasis on spaces and activities that build community. For younger students, these take the form of fun, interactive enrichments like multicultural art projects, video game design, educational games, and much more.
For middle and high school students, we’re running clubs like Dungeons & Dragons Club, robotics, and gradually rolling out identity-based clubs like the Vietnamese Student Association, Black Student Union, and Latinos Unidos in collaboration with the schools. Additionally, for 6th grade students who are getting to know their new schools virtually, our Beacon staff are bringing community-building activities directly into their homeroom classes.
Students and parents alike are dealing with the challenges of extended screen time during the pandemic, and our team is working to promote a healthy relationship to technology. As part of our elementary school programs, students are provided with take-home kits each month that include art and craft supplies, science experiments, and other activities that give them something tangible to engage with during virtual programs. We’ve also been providing students with physical fitness and sports activities that they can do at home or in the park, such as basketball and soccer drills, dance, and more.
As students continue to settle into distance learning, we will be rolling out new program offerings to support them and their families in this challenging time.
If you’d like to help out, please consider donating to the Neighborhood Center or participating in our Fall Supply Drive! All supplies are used in our Community Hub, take-home activity boxes, or given directly to low-income families who need school supplies. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far—your generosity is already making a difference!
Community Hub Photos: DCYF