After a year of distance learning and homeschooling for many children in our community, including families at the shelter, Empower Yolos shelter staff and After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) staff are personally preparing the children for a successful new school year.
Preparations in Empower Yolo’s emergency safe house are in full swing. After a year of distance learning for the children housed at the shelter during the pandemic, the shelter staff is committed to making this new school year a success for the children.
“This year is about helping kids get used to going back to school,” said Empower Yolo, Tyler Geike’s child support attorney. “The Safe House staff help our children prepare for high school by providing them with summer enrichment that includes reading, summer camp activities and personal development. Our staff create a warm, welcoming and inviting environment for all of our children by providing them with a special breakfast, school supplies and packed lunches on the first day of school. We also provide our children and families with pictures of the start of school and a first day of school outfit. “
Last year, Empower Yolo’s child advocates did a great job helping 15-20 children from four different school districts, from kindergarten to college. They created two classrooms in the shelter to support the children. The shelter is currently supporting 21 children who are preparing for the coming school year; their ages range from 5 to 18 years old.
Empower Yolo hosts its annual school start in August to support children in the shelter and other families in need. As the children are preparing to go back to school in person, the shelter needs more school supplies than last year, especially backpacks and school clothes.
The donations that are donated during the back-to-school trip are very helpful to the families in the shelter all year round. “Back to school isn’t just a day for the shelter; We need backpacks and school supplies that we always have on hand because we have children all year round who come to the shelter and often open new schools, ”says Sonia Jimenez, director of the shelter, Empower Yolo.
Families in emergency shelters need more support in accessing the essentials for their children. “Our families in the safe house have limited resources and often do not have the necessary means to provide their children with school supplies. We are grateful that we receive donations from our community to make the start of school a special day for our children, ”says Geike.
The physical preparations have a positive effect on the students’ ability to learn. “Studies have shown that starting the school year with the necessary materials can promote learning, boost self-esteem, and help children thrive and grow in school. Some children may already be feeling the pressure to adjust and go back to school. Without the right supplies, children can feel like they don’t fit in, which can make them feel worse. With the necessary material, we can show our children how to prepare and what it takes to be successful in school, ”says Geike.
The community can help by supporting our start to school. Donations needed include: backpacks, lunch boxes, enrichment items, pencils, markers, notebooks, painting supplies, reusable water bottles, and / or small toys / activities. Gift cards for local businesses like Target and Walmart are also very much appreciated so that our families can provide their children with first day clothes in the safe house.
Donations may be made to the main office at 175 Walnut St., Woodland or the Family Resource Center at 441 D St., Davis during office hours; Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please donate by August 16. A full list of items you need can be found on our website at: empoweryolo.org.
“The ability to create a safe and loving environment for the children is our number one priority in the safe home,” Geike said. “Providing our children with school supplies would mean the world to our families in the safe house. This is our next generation of students. Let’s make returning to school after a challenging year a special moment for everyone. “
The Empower Yolo ASSETs program will be open in person all day in autumn. The ASSETs team continues to provide services to students to ensure they achieve academic and lifelong success. The program will open from 9am to 6pm in La Semilla, Woodland High School, on the first day of school, August 19th.
ASSETs offers a range of services and resources ranging from: tutoring from UC Davis tutors, academic interventions, success coaching, athletic conditioning, leadership opportunities through various clubs and activities. Established relationships with organizations such as Fourth and Hope and the Yolo Food Bank provide students with opportunities to participate in the community. Monthly workshops are still offered for parents to further support the development of the students.
“We plan to continue developing programs that promote the academic, emotional and social development of students. In response to returning from the unprecedented pandemic situation, we hope to ensure that all students affected by the virtual environment stay on track and continue to pursue the goals they set before the pandemic and new ones Set milestones. “Says Fabian Iglesias, Director of Youth Programs, ASSET’s program manager Empower Yolo.
We are open to working with the community to ensure our students get the resources and support they need to help them achieve their goals. If community organizations have opportunities for our students to get involved and help them develop and grow, please contact Fabian Iglesias at: [email protected].
“We hope that not only will we be able to offer our services to our Woodland High School students, but that we will continue to provide our resources to our Pioneer High School students. Due to a possible lack of funds for the Pioneer Opportunity Program, there is a risk that programs and clubs for these students will be canceled. Still, the ASSETs team looks forward to fulfilling its mission of empowering all young people to achieve academic and lifelong success and reaching as many students as possible in the hope that we will gain the support of our community for this, ”says Iglesias.
ASSETs, in partnership with the UC Davis Early Academic Outreach Program, City of Woodland, Travis Credit Union, and Woodland Joint Unified School District, has successfully completed its annual Executive Summer Academy where students completed five elective courses and prepared for future executives for our church.
Students had the opportunity to attend six universities, including five California State Universities and one University of California campus. During the five-week program, students participated in a variety of workshops divided into three daily sessions: Life / Work Skills, College Knowledge, and Leadership.
For more information about Empower Yolo and a full list of services, visit www.empoweryolo.org.
– Natalia Baltazar is the Empower Yolo Development and Community Relations Director.
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