Innovative Programming for Uncertain Times
Since the world of the kids we serve got small, Kids in Focus is going BIG to stay connected to them.
Now, more than ever, the most important thing we can do is stay connected to the kids we serve. Grief, uncertainty, and adversity is an all too familiar experience for most of the youth we serve. The closing of schools and social programs for these kids is particularly devastating because, for many of them, school is the only stable and positive thing in their lives. Kids in Focus is working extra hard during this time to implement innovative programs to help the kids navigate stressful times and build resilience.
2020 IN-PERSON FALL PROGRAMS
After a busy summer of live virtual programs at Boys and Girls Clubs across the Valley, we are thrilled to be returning to in-person programs! Starting October 8, KIF begins three new programs at the MLB Diamondbacks Branch, bringing some much-needed inspiration to kids from this and several neighboring clubs that have yet to reopen. Though we’ll be working in small groups and wearing masks, the kids and mentors will still crawl, jump and swing to capture unexpected images that can earn the kids awards.
At Children First Leadership Academy, the largest school for homeless children in the country, the students have been particularly impacted by Covid restraints, and furthermore, without connection to programs like ours, they very often fall through the cracks after leaving the school. In addition to our going into overdrive to stay connected to the kids during these past months, we are seizing the opportunity this Fall to now also work with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders during another three new programs, starting November 6. We will forge a bond of trust with kids earlier in their development and ensure our ability to offer continual support to kids and their families over several years.
GRADS IN FOCUS PROGRAM
Through our Grads in Focus program, the kids stay connected to their mentors and classmates for many years after their initial program. Right now, we’re amplifying the private online Grads forum, engaging even more kids, and doing so on a deeper level.
Mentors are reaching out one-by-one to every student from previous years who is not already active, and the participation has exploded. The momentum we’re seeing is remarkable! Kids from as far back as eight years ago are active on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, interacting with the mentors and other kids.
2020 VIRTUAL SPRING/SUMMER PROGRAMS AT BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
We are providing live programming for kids at ten Boys & Girls Club branches across the Valley. Each week a photographer mentor presents the curriculum live using Zoom Classroom for up to ten kids at a time at each club. The kids participate in a photo contest within each club, with weekly winners and prizes.
The programs encourage kids to see their world differently and reframe the way they interpret their current situation from one that is likely stressful and scary to one that sparks curiosity and hope.
CELEBRATING SPRING 2020 GRADUATING STUDENTS
Since graduation ceremonies were canceled at all schools, we helped bring the celebration to each promoting student of Children First Leadership Academy. We traveled all over the Valley to deliver gift bags, diplomas, and a whole lot of love to 41 promoting 8th-graders and kindergartners who are living below the poverty line.
2020 KIDS IN SPRING PROGRAMS
With the postponement of our spring programs, we’ve been connecting with those kids through other methods, including telephone calls, messages, and an online forum. Kids and mentors are in touch on a daily and weekly basis, providing the kids with a caring connection and an important sense of belonging.
The kids are participating in weekly photo challenges, keeping the kids focused on the possibilities in the world. The volunteer mentors are also creating weekly videos, speaking directly to the kids with words of inspiration.