As we approach nearly a year of online learning, many families have reached their breaking point trying to manage their children’s education and social-emotional needs while also working from home and contending with mental and physical health concerns and vulnerabilities.
“This pandemic has been hard on everyone, and not being able to go to school has been terribly hard on kids,” says SYS Executive Director Dawn Stueckle.
In February 2021 Sunset Youth Services began partnering with the city as the lead agency for the Community Hubs Initiative in the Sunset District, enabling approximately 42 children to access online learning in safe, socially-distanced pods at local sites through the end of the school year. “The lack of socialization due to COVID-19 has made kids and families stir crazy,” Stueckle says, “The Community Hubs Initiative allows kids to have safe, structured socialization and recreation time as well as assistance with their school day. It's a much needed compromise for kids that need to be with their peers. This is a mental and emotional health investment––although the educational supports are a nice perk!”
One site director and two on-site staff from Wah Mei School and the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center will facilitate each of the three pods, offering qualified supervision for small groupings of 12-14 children in grades K-2, 1-3, and 3-6.
Preference has been given to African American, Latinx, and Asian/Pacific Islander children as well as children of essential workers and those who need extra support or are falling through the cracks.