How NVCS has taken action to aid our San Fernando Valley community in response to public school closures!
As the need for academic assistance by high-risk youth in the San Fernando Valley has escalated in wake of public school closures, North Valley Caring Services has launched our new “NVCS Classroom” program to address this ever-growing issue.
For families within the SFV community, the coronavirus pandemic has presented a multitude of uncertainties, including the accessibility of online education for their children. At NVCS, we have committed to providing a safe space during the day where these students can receive the tools and guidance they need to thrive in their school’s online curriculum.
NVCS’ staff and volunteers help kids log onto their classes, assist them with classwork, help them maintain concentration and provide them with healthy snacks and lunch meals.
“It’s important to have these programs accessible to the community. A lot of the families in our program do not know English nor how to use computers. Now more than ever, we have to offer them a safe and consistent environment,” Youth Programs Administrator Angelica Salcido said.
The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority, and we have incorporated the COVID-19 guidelines recommended by the Los Angeles County Health Department into our daily program.
NVCS Classroom students begin their mornings by having their temperature checked and washing their hands thoroughly. Face masks are required at all times, the only exception is when students are eating lunch that our community chef and students’ parents prepared.
Keeping in mind that children learn better within their own age groups, NVCS Classroom has established three groups of ten students in three separate classrooms; each group is supervised by one teacher and two volunteers and everyone is expected to keep a six-feet distance from others. In addition, regular hand washing is required throughout the day and the disinfection of all surfaces and doorknobs are done at the end of each day.
“Before COVID-19 hit, we offered a variety of services and programs to families and kids. NVCS was home to a Kids Co-Op program that parents could use while they were in their ESL classes on campus. Families experiencing homelessness relied on our program while they looked for housing and job opportunities. When the safer-at-home order was enacted, we had to shut down our programs. We felt like we had to do something for these children, and with proper precautions in place, we opened our doors to our community again. Safety is our top priority and we check the student’s temperatures, have them wash their hands regularly, maintain them six feet apart, and are required to have their masks on at all times,” Salcido said.
It is imperative to our students’ success that they have access to user-friendly equipment and reliable internet service. Internet and computer access are the bare minimum resources needed for this newly implemented mode of education, but most of our children come from households where access is limited or wholly unavailable. It is with great pleasure to say that at NVCS, children have access to computers and our staff provide them with the technical support they need.
An additional hurdle placed upon many SFV families is that English is often not the primary language spoken at home. To alleviate this added stress, our NVCS staff often support our parents who do not speak English by liaising with school administrators and teachers on their behalf.
Rocio Morales, parent of one of our NVCS Classroom participants says, “I am very happy that my three children are in the NVCS Classroom program. It has been very good because my kids have fun, learn and coexist with other children while I volunteer in different programs at NVCS. The COVID-19 pandemic has made these last few months difficult because the schools are closed, and I don’t speak English but the NVCS classroom has offered and helped my children with their school work.”
To make up for the loss of extracurricular academic enrichment that these students are facing, we are providing fun, hands-on activities like our ceramics class and physical fitness sessions!
At NVCS, we are dedicated to working for the betterment of our community, and that means that we must be able to swiftly adapt during environmental and social changes. With the implementation of the NVCS Classroom program, we strive to give parents peace of mind knowing that their children are safe, keeping up with their schoolwork and are well fed.
For more information, please contact our Youth Programs Administrator at 818-891-0481 x38 or firstname.lastname@example.org.