“We volunteered to help them out with their delivery system,” said Ron. “We had vans, and we had staff.”
Another challenge for the agency was how they would offer their Community School Investigators (CSI) Summer Learning Program.
“That’s a huge program for us, five weeks of summer school for kids, grades one to six,” said Ron. “Normally, there would be 1,000 students who would sign up, and we would hire 200 staff to help run the program.”
Ron said they were able to offer the program to approximately half the cohort – about 500 students.
“Food was a big part of the program, too,” said Ron. “We were doing that twice a day. Either breakfast and lunch for kids coming in the morning, or lunch and a take-home for the kids who came in the afternoon.”
As September approached, Ron said they were hoping they could get back into the schools; understandably, however, just being open was enough of a challenge for schools.
To ensure that kids could still participate in in-person programs, BGCW found a clever workaround.
“For the first time in our organization’s history, we rented some programming space close to the schools we were already in,” said Ron.
In-person programming ended when the Province declared a Code Red in Manitoba.
Not to be deterred, BGCW found another workaround.
“We were much more prepared this time [since the spring],” said Ron. “We went into virtual programming, which we’re doing 100% across the board. Our staff are safe, and our kids are safe. It’s not as good as in person, but it’s at least it keeps the connection alive.”
One of the workarounds to offer programming was to purchase approximately 100 Chromebooks.
“For kids who didn’t have the technology, now they do, and they can connect with us, with each other, and if they’re doing online schooling, they can connect with school.”
Donors' support meant BGCW could buy Chromebooks for kids without access to a home computer, so they could participate in online programming.