How do you create a sense of normalcy for children when the world is anything but normal? This was one of the challenges Center of Life, a community-empowerment organization in Hazelwood, faced over the summer. Staff knew summer programming would provide security for the youth they served, but they also realized that there was no way they could deliver programming the same way they had in the past – too many children in one space was too high of a risk. So, Center of Life decided to try something new: pop-up events.
Over three weeks, Center of Life hosted several sessions of pop-up summer programing that allowed youth ages four through 18 to spend time with friends and participate in engaging activities – all while remaining safe. Youth spent a few hours moving among various activity stations that included science enrichment, arts and crafts, video games and music enrichment. To limit the chance of exposure to COVID-19, youth were screened each day and activities were spaced out around the Spartan Center parking lot to encourage physical distancing.
Moving forward, Center of Life has made plans to provide virtual afterschool programming. They are also working with the Pittsburgh Public School District to find ways that they can continue to support youth. Although the next few months are still filled with uncertainty, Center of Life will continue to be flexible to make sure that the youth and families they serve have access to the resources and supports they need.