Kudos to all of our programs as we continue to find new ways to connect with our teams and reach our students. We hope that these activities shared below help to fuel your creativity and passion for continuing support of your youth and families via the 21st CCLC grant program. Please read below for more information about the work and accomplishments of the following programs through February of 2021:
Wood County Educational Service Center’s Community Learning Centers, Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District, and Center of Hope Family Services.
The Community Learning Centers of the Wood County ESC is excited to announce a partnership with America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses. Each month, our program will receive two vouchers that are redeemable for a free eye exam and free pair of glasses. We understand how expensive both of these can be, so we are extremely grateful for this new partnership with America’s Best. Thank you for helping to give our students the gift of sight!
Armed with a Masters in Education and Curriculum Design, years of experience working with youth, and a deep belief in educational equity, Ms. Williams began running Boulevard’s after-school enrichment program in January for ten students recommended by their classroom teachers. “We wanted to start small,” said Ms. Williams, to really get to know one another and build a strong foundation for a bigger, more effective program when school reopens in person.
Similar to Oxford HUB (another of the district’s five 21st Century Grant programs, featured here), each week of Boulevard Blast is organized around a theme. During the initial All About Me week, students began by filling out a survey covering everything from their pets and siblings to their favorite foods and book genres to the one place they’d visit if they could go anywhere in the world. Because a number of children said they wanted to visit Disney World, Ms. Williams surprised them with a virtual field trip to the park. “We even got to ride rides,” she said. “It was really fun.” She’ll continue to use their responses as she plans for future weeks. “I want to tap into their likes and figure out ways to keep them engaged. I really want them to know how special they are.”
With the goal of developing the whole child, another week was centered on Health and Wellness. Students practiced yoga, learned mindfulness strategies, and ate healthy snacks while Ms. Williams demonstrated how to make a green smoothie. “We spent a lot of time talking about how Covid has affected all our lives,” said Ms. Williams. “But we also focused on the things we can still enjoy and how to be kind to ourselves and each other.”
This segued nicely into their first monthly service project. Students painted their own versions of “The Ladybug Flower” by Cristin Coffey with supplies dropped at their homes by Ms. Williams. The finished products were delivered to a local nursing home along with letters of encouragement for residents to enjoy.
Ms. Williams has big plans for when the program is able to run at full capacity, with the goal of enrolling 50 students when pandemic restrictions are eventually lifted. “We will focus on supporting the whole child and the whole family,” she said, looking at everything from attendance and test scores to family strengths and challenges. “Whatever the need is, we can fill it.”
From digging deep into increasing math and literacy skills to developing students socially and emotionally, Ms. Williams also hopes to build their character and confidence, and help them regulate and express themselves. “My love for children is what drives me.”
Center of Hope Family Services (Northwest Region)
Center of Hope produced a music video to promote the use of masks in the community. Titled “Mask Up,” it featured original music combined with community leaders and was designed to increase mask usage and reduce the incidence of COVID-19 in nine Toledo zip codes. The video was disseminated on digital platforms to people in those nine zip codes by Thread Marketing Group. The program ran from November 1, 2020, until January 28, 2021—the heart of the holiday “Super Spreader” season.
The results are amazing. Data from the Lucas County Health Department indicates that the total number of cases in areas not targeted increased by 300% over this period, but the increase in the 9 zip codes targeted was 63% less. Before the video, these 9 zip codes made up 39.9% of Lucas County’s COVID cases. After the video, it was 32%.
Center of Hope is thankful to the City of Toledo for funding this video through the Community Development Block Grant. The Mask Up program has received media attention in the area as well:
Center of Hope completed another music video funded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, who asked them to address a less visible impact of the pandemic: an increased incidence of mental health and substance abuse issues, especially in more vulnerable communities. Using the same mix of elements—original music, compelling images, and factual information–to motivate African-Americans to take care of themselves in these troubled times and to seek help if they need it. Please feel free to share it with your community.
With the support of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Governor’s Office of Faith Based Initiatives, Center of Hope’s short PSA provides encouragement to those encountering increased stress during the pandemic. Song “Don’t Give Up,” written and performed by Tracee Perryman, PhD. Center of Hope is working every day to lift up their community and could not do it without your support.
We encourage you during this time to share with other programs your innovations and successes amidst Ohio’s ordered school-building closure for COVID-19.
If you would like to be featured on this blog, please email a brief description and any attachments/links to Tabitha Palmer, our 21st CCLC Data Coordinator, at email@example.com by the 9th of each month.