COVID relief funds to send thousands of County kids to summer enrichment programs

COVID relief funds to send thousands of County kids to summer enrichment programs

in Community

More than 2,500 San Mateo County students will be able to attend enrichment programs this summer thanks to over $3.2 million in County grants stemming from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, a stimulus program that aims to help state and local governments overcome issues caused by the pandemic, such as student learning loss and their social, emotional wellbeing.

Among the grant awardees are programs such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula (including several sites in Redwood City, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto); the Redwood City Adelante/Selby Lane Summer Learning Program; Footsteps Child Care, Inc. in Redwood City and Belmont; the Redwood City Police Activities League Community Center; and St. Francis Center of Redwood City’s Siena Youth Center. To view the full list of grant awardees, which includes 42 providers that operate 72 programs, go here.

Locally, the Board of Supervisors set support for children and families as a priority for ARPA funds.

“In conversations with educators, early learning providers and after-school program directors, staff heard that many students, especially those in kindergarten through second grade, are behind in the development of their social and emotional skills due to isolation and distance learning during the pandemic,” said Assistant County Executive Officer Peggy Jensen, who is helping to lead the County’s pandemic recovery effort.

“When asked what could be done, there was unanimous agreement that summer camps and other supervised group activities would be the fastest and best was to address this issue,” Jensen said.

Ann Waterman Roy from the Ravenswood City School District noted the granst will help the district provide counseling and mental health supports this summer, “which is so important for students who have gone through two years of pandemic-related challenges and trauma.”

On Feb. 8, the Board directed $10 million in ARPA funding toward programs and services aimed at helping the most vulnerable residents whose health or finances or both were impacted by COVID-19.

Photo courtesy of San Mateo County