Updated: January 27, 2021 06:17 PM
Created: January 27, 2021 12:24 PM
Card games and animal names were part of the fun at the Boys and Girls Club Lincoln Park branch. During the pandemic, they've had to limit how many youth they can serve. "Right now, we can have 15 people in a room," explained Ted Hoffman, branch director.
That's meant more one-on-one attention from staff, and more intentional homework help. "We've really seen some of the quieter kids come out of their shell," Hoffman added.
The hours and schedules have changed, due to changes with return to learn plans at the schools. There are two branches in Duluth, one in Superior, and two in Grand Rapids and Greenway.
Meals continued to head out the door during the pandemic. And they actually provided more this year at some locations, than in years past.
Health and safety are a priority. Hoffman praised the staff and the youth for sticking to the guidelines and taking pride in being safe.
And mental health continues to be a big focus. New on Wednesday was therapist visits on site for mental health. "We have a partnership with the Hills Youth and Family Services. They are bringing a therapist into the clubs to provide therapy right on site," shared Tammy Sundbom, Resource Development Director for the clubs. The Mental Health Access Program began in 2019, and has continued to grow.
They've also been going outside as much as possible. Thanks to a donor in Duluth, they've been able to pay for a bus to take the group skiing at Mont du lac. They are looking for another donor to help pay for transportation to a cabin this spring/summer.
Sundbom and the rest of the staff are feeling hopeful. "I think as we move ahead, it's going to that much more important, as we get the kids coming back. For the ones who haven't been able to get the support they need, our services are going to be so invaluable to help get them back on track."
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