It's a temporary new normal for local youth who, just a few weeks ago, were attending the Boys & Girls Club in-person. The worsening coronavirus outbreak is making the important after-school resource unavailable, at least in the ways they're used to operating.
"They're not able to be with us every day - and that is a big challenge," said John Wilson, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills.
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Wilson says although physical distancing is keeping kids at home, the club is still present in their lives. It is utilizing Zoom video conferencing for just about everything they did before: homework help, fitness and cooking programs, and even story time.
"The biggest one that's been attended is 'let's get social' and that's just a chance for them to get on and talk about what's going on and talk to each other," said Wilson "They miss each other, they miss the staff."
Finn Espinoza has been going to the Monrovia club since he started elementary school.
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"When you don't see your friends for a while it hurts," said Espinoza. "I miss everything honestly, especially the staff members."
"It's really just an outlet for us where we can stay connected with the kids and let them know we're here for them through this and to support them in any way we can," said Amy Cortez, the teen program director.
What's unclear now is if the club will reopen before summer break. It's a critical time when they usually have day-long programs for about 500 kids. But one positive from all of this: they've learned more about how they can use this valuable technology in the future.
"This method we're using to connect with kids today is going to be something we continue to use even after society opens back up," said Wilson. "It's going to be a really great tool for us to connect with kids when they can't be there."
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