We know afterschool is part of the solution. We’ve seen it time and time again in the high-quality programs that keep kids safe, support working families, and engage learners. We’ve seen it in summer learning programs; we’ve seen it in the third space for older youth; and we’ve seen the positive outcomes that boost student success. Now we’re seeing it in the way afterschool youth-serving programs are stepping up to support youth and families in their local communities across Vermont throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Every young person deserves quality afterschool experiences that positively impact their development. It takes skilled professionals to create these experiences. Because of the important role afterschool and youth-serving professionals play in the lives of kids, they deserve our recognition and support.
Afterschool Virtual Forum
On Wednesday, April 29th we hosted a virtual forum that featured testimony from nine different afterschool and youth-serving programs on how they are supporting youth and families throughout the coronavirus crisis.
These programs represent the diverse, nimble, and creative ways that our field has responded to the needs in their communities.
Mount Abraham Unified School District’s Expanded Learning Program operates afterschool and summer learning programs in five sites across Addison County. The MAUSD Expanded Learning Program is currently coordinating a child care program for essential workers for kids ages preK-11 in their school district and recently opened slots to accommodate children from two additional districts.
We connect with our children and their families in heartfelt ways. We then connect these children to the community.Mandy Chesley-Park, MAUSD ELP Program Director
Burlington School District’s Expanded Learning Opportunities Program operates afterschool and summer learning programs for youth in grades K-12 across nine sites. Currently, they are coordinating a unique child care for essential workers program by providing funding directly to families that they can use to compensate for an in-home child care provider for their PreK-5th grader. The ELO program is also coordinating a free in-school essential care program for PreK-5th grade students. ELO staff are also supporting K-5 kids with enrichment packets being sent to home, middle/high school youth with virtual programming and clubs, and food prep and delivery.
All-4-One is an afterschool and summer program serving youth in grades K-12 in Springfield. Staff from All-4-One are helping to deliver 760 lunches and breakfasts to families daily in the Springfield area. All-4-One is also keeping youth engaged with virtual programming through The Space, a teen center that is completely youth-driven.
Wings Community Programs is an afterschool and summer program that serves youth in grades K-12 across four sites in Halifax, Readsboro, Whitingham, and Wilmington. Wings used the April vacation week to pilot a virtual program camp. They offered up to 11 live programs per day plus pre-recorded programs/challenges with a huge variety of programs being offered.
The Greater Burlington YMCA runs sixteen afterschool programs and a variety of summer camps and licensed care programs. They serve ages 5-12 in Chittenden, Franklin, and Washington counties. Currently, the Y is running an essential worker child care program in Jericho for children ages 4 to 11 years old whose parents/guardians work in the health care field, state employees, and more recently agriculture.
I am so proud of the Y staff working on the front lines everyday providing safe, fun, and quality care. They are flexible, caring, responsible individuals. I am also proud of the Y staff behind the scenes coordinating these programs and allowing them to come together as seamless as possible.Katelyn Irwin, Director of School-Age Programs at the Y
REACH! Afterschool & Summer Program serves youth in grades K-8 across three sites in northeastern VT. REACH! is coordinating the child care program for essential workers in their community. They have worked with teachers and principals to provide academic support to youth enrolled in the program, and recently started virtual programming to families across the district with the goal of social connections.
Youth Services in Brattleboro & Friends for Change is a drop-in afterschool program serving middle & high school youth. Youth Services moved their programs online, with staff connecting personally with youth and ensuring youth had access to technology and food. They placed a heavy emphasis on social emotional skills, including daily check-ins with youth.
We have been a first response team for the disconnected youth and the households they are living in. On our daily calls we make resource referrals, play games, talk about struggles, and help with school work. The time is rich and connected, and often the only contact our youth have with the world outside of their homes.Emilie Kornheiser, Workforce Development Coordinator at Youth Sevices
Twinfield Afterschool Program is a new afterschool program serving youth in grades 7-12. Despite the challenges of shifting to the online realm, the program has had success with using Flipgrid to continue programming. Along with using the platform to inspire kids to do hands-on activities, they utilized the busses doing food delivery to send home project supplies to individual students.
Two Rivers Supervisory Union Afterschool and Summer Program is a program that serves youth in grades K-6 across four sites. TRSU has really focused on providing youth with a safe space for youth to connect as well as give parents and families peace of mind that their youth can be with friends and adults online without the normal pressures of school-day online learning. TRSU currently offers five different virtual afterschool enrichment activities plus tutoring every day from 4-5:15 p.m. The virtual program is free and open to all students.