In-Person Youth Programming

Of all the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on children and youth has been among the most pronounced. All young people, from toddlers to teenagers, experienced extreme disruption in their educational and social lives. Schools transitioned to remote learning in March 2020. Most summer programs were suspended or found ways to provide distanced recreation and enrichment. Many schools continued remote learning in the fall, while others implemented hybrid learning, often on a stop-and-go basis as coronavirus cases flared.

While protective measures had to be taken to prevent the further spread of the virus, a great deal of evidence has suggested that this disconnection from school and peers has been detrimental to young people’s educational outcomes and overall wellbeing. In response, the Dyson Foundation made grants to the following organizations to help them safely provide in-person programming to Mid-Hudson Valley youth.

Poughkeepsie-based childcare provider Community Family Development enhanced their in-person school-age childcare offerings to support the online learning needs of students, including increased internet access and dedicated educational support staff. The Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh created a weekday Learning Center in the City of Poughkeepsie so that students could attend remote classes in a safe place with staff support and also continued providing afternoon enrichment programs in Poughkeepsie and Newburgh. Similarly, Ramapo for Children created full-day in-person, small group remote learning support for elementary and middle school students at its campus in Rhinebeck. And Family Services changed the location of its existing after-school activities for elementary, middle school, and high school students to allow for in-person enrichment to take place.

Several long-time Dyson Foundation grantees proceeded with previously funded activities and managed the challenges of doing them in-person. The REAL Skills Network offered its afternoon enrichment program for Poughkeepsie youth, the Wild Earth Wilderness School offered outdoor experiential summer camp to youth from Ulster County and the broader Mid-Hudson Valley, and the Harriet Tubman Academic Skills Program hosted City of Poughkeepsie elementary-age students for afternoon academic support and enrichment. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is planning off-site, “pop up” programming in the coming months, and the Dyson Foundation continued its support to the Child Care Council of Dutchess & Putnam Counties for scholarships to help Dutchess County families afford the costs of childcare.