As the COVID-19 pandemic struck, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club quickly evolved to meet the ongoing needs of the community, first transitioning into an emergency COVID-19 shelter and then offering a limited capacity summer camp for children. From ending the school year virtually and no longer being able to participate in many of their favorite activities, the lives of children and youth look drastically different than when 2020 started. By offering limited-capacity summer camp, The Club provided a new sense of hope and comfort to youth in the community when they needed it most.
Staff implemented intensive health and safety protocols, such as daily temperature scans, PPE requirements, increased cleaning and spacing out classrooms. While summer camp looked different from what the children were used to, it didn’t stop them from making lasting memories and developing critical skills. With many schools returning virtually this fall, The Club opened its doors as a Facilitated Learning Center and welcomed students from Richmond City, Henrico and Chesterfield Counties. Here the students receive in person support during the school day, daily breakfast and lunch, and afterschool programming. The Club is also serving as a community hub in partnership with Richmond Public Schools where families can receive access to community resources.
“Once again we are transitioning to meet the needs of the community and Club members when they need support most,” said Boys & Girls Club Director, Hugh Jones. “We are prepared to serve as a facilitated learning center to maintain the academic, emotional and character development of youth while they aren’t physically in their schools anymore. We are proud to offer support, and grateful for our community partners working together to create a bright future for our children.”