Oceanside Boys And Girls Club Continues Community Support
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Photo by Nicholas McVicker
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools and afterschool programs for youth throughout San Diego.
But when the pandemic shut down the Oceanside Boys and Girls Club in March, CEO Jodi Diamond and her staff reached out to the youth they served to see how they were coping.
“What we heard was truly heartbreaking,” she said, “They were hungry, and that is when the team came together and said we’ve got to do something about it, we can't let our children go hungry.”
With a commercial kitchen on site, staff sprung into action and began making homemade meals to distribute to the community.
“If there was a need, we were going to provide it and to date, since May 4th, we have provided almost 33,000 meals and snacks to those that are in need,” said Diamond.
The emergency food program became a pilot project that helped get children back into their facility. In June, they were able to open their doors for a summer program.
The club is now assisting 200 young people with virtual learning, academic support, a daily meal, and socially distanced recreational activities. It’s a small number, compared to the 1,400 youth they served daily, pre-COVID.
Diamond says the opening of the club is vital to North County youth as the programs help children stay in school and concentrate on a focus for their future.
“They’ll stay in school, they won’t get into risky behaviors. And our hope is they not only graduate, but graduate with that plan for the future,” she said.
Their focus is on STREAM learning and support: science, technology, research, engineering, arts, and math.
In addition to the youth programs, the club has also continued their ROAD’s program, Real Options for Adults With Disabilities, virtually. Diamond said the virtual transition has been a success and has full attendance.
Funding for the Boys and Girls Club of Oceanside is mostly funded independently, through grants, and some portions from the Department of Education.
This story was produced with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.
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