By: Kristine Uyeda, Youth Development Resource Center
On an ordinary day, you might have found Developing K.I.D.S (Kingdoms In Different Stages) programming running in local community buildings or schools. Youth from ages 5 to 18 would gather after school for a variety of supportive activities—homework help, social-emotional lessons, science and art activities, help completing essays for college applications, peer discussions, and healthy meals. Participants helped out at meal times and shared the responsibility of caring for Mr. Benny, an adorable, fluffy rabbit housed at one of the sites. You would have heard a lot of laughter and earnest conversation between youth and the staff.
In the face of COVID-19, Kim Johnson, founder, president, and CEO of Developing K.I.D.S. and her staff faced the challenge of translating a deeply engaged, face-to-face program model into one that could be delivered remotely and equitably.
“Staff, parents and youth weighed in and co-created the design,” says Kim Johnson. We continuously engage youth and parents in facilitation, brainstorming, reflection, and evaluation in a virtual format.”
To create an inclusive program, Developing K.I.D.S. created a virtual model using a variety of platforms that are most accessible for youth and families without internet service at home.
Each day, Developing K.I.D.S. posts a number of engaging videos, opportunities for homework help, and check-in sessions on their Facebook page and other social media outlets. They maintain a weekly calendar, as well as provide reminders of upcoming sessions to keep youth and families aware of available programming. Here’s a STEM video on creating invisible ink with youth services coordinator, Tyrone Bean.
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The mission of Developing K.I.D.S. is to strengthen urban communities by guiding youth in their mental, physical and educational growth; helping to strengthen and empower young adults; and providing opportunities for all to become strong contributors to their community.
Our thanks to Developing K.I.D.S. team members Kim Johnson, Founder, President, and CEO, Tenecha (Toy) Bland, Program Director, and Tyrone Bean, Youth Services Coordinator for taking the time to share their experiences with us.