For 80 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound has been serving youth in need. Although COVID-19 has changed the way it serves kids in each community, the mission remains the same: The commitment to keeping young people safe is always number one. The organization has approached this pandemic with of mindset of “whatever it takes” to serve those who need it most.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound has remained in close communication with local health departments, program partners, and the school districts served by club branches. It has been working to find out what the community needs will be and how to support them while the community works through this emergency-response plan.
As part of that plan, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound is giving those on the frontlines of service peace of mind knowing that their kids are safely cared for. Day Camp sites have been opened at no charge in Tacoma and Belfair to serve the children of first responders, medical providers, and essential workers. In Tacoma, the Al Davies Branch is operating in partnership with Tacoma Public Schools and many other community organizations. The Belfair site is operating in partnership with the North Mason School District at its North Mason Teen Center.
Roughly 40 youth, grades K-5 have been served at each location. The hours are 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with meals and snacks provided each day. Child-to-staff ratios are intentionally low (8:1) to ensure safe social-distancing. And health care partners provide medical protocols for the nurses on-site to follow, which includes screening each child and staff member when they arrive each day.
Through its efforts and the generosity of the community, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound has been able to provide over 14,000 lunches and breakfasts at its Grab & Go meal sites in Lakewood, Tacoma, and Bremerton. In April, the club began providing additional meals for the weekend for the household on an as-needed basis. The club’s Family Support Team also has been busy assembling bags of essential items, including food, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and personal messages from the team. The bags are delivered to club families in need.
Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound also has adapted its programs and services to do whatever it takes for its youth, families, and communities through the pandemic by launching a new Virtual Club2Go program — one hour of live, team-led programs via Zoom each day. This new program provides distance-based virtual learning and activities for club members, including educational activities, tutoring support, basic art projects, physical exercises, and simple active activities led by staff.
Those who would like to donate to Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound to help it continue to support local kids in the community can visit this website.
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