The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) has revealed that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health-related emergencies increased 24% for the 5-11 age group, and 31% for the 12-17 age group. The worries that children have include: "Will I see my friends again?", "When will I go back to school?" and "Will I get sick? "
We offer candy, chips, juice, and sometimes also cookies and doughnuts. The children eagerly come and knock on the door. They are required to have a facemask on in order to enter. It is wonderful to hear the glee in their voices as they dig into the tote container to find their favorite candy, and then into the chip container for their favorite treat.
Seeing the children permits us to: talk with them about school, their aspirations, their fears, their mental health, and to provide encouragement. We also hand out STEAM Kits, puzzles, word search puzzles, books, crafts, and biographies. When they return their assignments, they receive a special prize.
COVID protocols are followed.