Our mission is to enrich the lives of foster children in our community, and our extracurricular activities program is one of the biggest ways we can accomplish this. Through this program, we are able to support foster children’s participation in sports and other activities that will enrich their childhoods, provide stress relief and enhance participation in the community.
Some of the activities we’ve been able to sponsor include piano lessons, swimming, soccer, driver’s education, cosmetology, basketball, dance and kickboxing. This means that not only will children have a wide variety of activities to choose from, ensuring they will have a fun and exciting time, but that they also have access to programs that will give them important skills to help them thrive in the future. Studies show that kids who participate in extracurricular activities even score higher on the SAT!
We have also partnered with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads to expand access to extracurricular activities for our foster kids and their families. Together, we have developed a special membership program for foster youth, one that is not tied to their foster parents or their financial standing, and that allows the membership to follow the youth wherever they go (i.e., between foster homes or back to biological family). The YMCA shows great consideration of the intricacies of foster families, comprised of many household members from various families, and accommodates this in the program’s definition of eligible enrollees for family memberships.
In 2017, we were able to provide monthly YMCA memberships to 64 foster youth and support 85 program activities. This year we are continuing to expand access to extracurriculars for foster children in Hampton Roads.