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Review for Northwest Family Services, Portland, OR, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Through this last year some students that felt more comfortable staying online were allowed to do so while others headed back to part-time in person learning. We wanted to make sure that those students still had enriching opportunities and felt included in their learning. Throughout the distance learning during the thick of COVID, we offered many virtual programs that included basketball camps, girl’s empowerment, arts and craft activities and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art & Mathematics. We supplied all the kits and materials that the students would need and connected weekly to work on the set activities together. Once we got back into the schools we decided to keep a once a week meet up with a group of students that had stayed virtual. In this weekly offering we did many activities like planting small gardens, working through the book “This Book is Anti-racist,” and filling out mock job applications. This group was smaller and was focused on the interests that the kids in the group had. One girl and her sister stuck through the group throughout the whole year and was eagerly engaged. Once Summer hit the family had felt a little more comfortable about the girl’s going out. As a team we decided to put on a week-long park event for families we work with. We brought snacks and games, as well as arts and crafts. These girls participated in our event as their first outing and were able to meet some other kids in their neighborhood. They were so happy to get out and make slime they decided to join another event that we had a few weeks later. This event was a collaboration with another non-profit that provided all the materials that the students would need to fish and bussed them to Hornings Hideout. The girls caught three fish each and had so much fun at this all-day event. After that wonderful event all the kids got bikes and fishing poles, life jackets and shirts to take home. Another virtual event that we have been offering this summer is called Summer Steps. The girls were eager to join this program as well and have been coming weekly to learn about different aspects of overall health. We give away prizes and teach the importance of physical, mental, and social health through activities that the whole family can participate with. I feel that our program has been able to provide a wide range of options that are creative and engaging, especially for these specific students. On top of these offerings we were able to deliver food and diapers weekly, and help pay some rent and utilities for this family. I feel really lucky to be a part of such an impactful non-profit in our community during these trying times. Seeing the excitement and engagement with our programs from students like these really keep us passionate about our work

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