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For the last 22 years, our organization has worked diligently to provide high-quality and high-impact after-school and school-break programs to the youth in our community. With these programs, safety – for Club Members and Staff – has always been our priority. March 17, we decided to close our Club when the CDC updated their social gathering recommendation from “no more than 50” to “no more than 10”. This was an extremely difficult decision for our organization to make, but based on what we knew at the time, it was the right decision.
While we were closed, we had several conversations with our national organization, other Clubs in Arizona, state officials, and local healthcare professionals. Other Clubs around the state (and country) are using a model that has allowed them to serve the “young people who need them most” on a smaller scale than normal while still focusing on everyone’s health and safety. And so by using this model (having no more than 8 Club Members in each room and following all other CDC guidelines), on March 23, we re-opened our Nap Lawrence Branch to provide childcare for children from families of critical and emergency healthcare professionals from Banner Health, Sun Life Family Health Center and law enforcement. The Casa Grande Elementary School District is providing breakfast and lunch for our members. We are encouraging all members to bring their school work (some members have physical packets, and some have online work) so that we can help them get it completed while they are here. We created an online chatroom using Discord that has allowed us to stay connected with our teen members. About 50+ are participating at this point, and ongoing activities include movie nights, playing Dungeons and Dragons, sharing music and art, and creating podcasts.
Our biggest challenge with this situation is income.
This pandemic has impacted our organization by closing 4 out of our 5 Branches that serve a total of 700 youth per day which provides $190,000 of our budget. The cancellation of our major fundraising event was scheduled for April 25 and budgeted for $100,000 income. Our current budget is just above $1.2M, and we are concerned that we will lose about $200,000 in expected revenue over the next three months. As you know, daily we strive to live our mission of inspiring and enabling all young people to realize their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.
We need your help now more than ever to help us do whatever it takes to support youth and families in our community.
Can't stop the fun, we've added some club activities online to further engage with all Club Members.
Daily Virtual Club Activities:
- The Lounge has been using Discord - which is a free voice, video and text chat app (or for those of you who are older than 25 like most of our staff- Discord is a fancy monitored online chatroom) - to stay connected with our teen members. About 53+ teens are participating at this point, and ongoing activities include- movie nights, playing a multi-day and still-going game of Dungeons and Dragons, sharing music and art, playing card games and recording podcasts.
- We hosted our first ESports event 2 weeks ago (moving forward, we will host one weekly every Friday).
- Our Directors and Staff have started interactive posts. This is different than what we're used to but we want to connect with members. "Daily Club Activities" on our Facebook has allowed us to give a virtual Club experience and opportunity to help members at home feel like they're still connected to their Club (and as a bonus get to see some of their favorite staff members).
- Home Family Scavenger Hunt, Tin Foil Boat Activity, Hands & Feet Hopscotch, National Look Alike Day.