AVON — An endless summer is every child’s dream, but for many parents, it can also create added stress. That’s because a long summer can be a huge financial strain, as parents try to figure out what to do with the kids while they go to work.
Where should kids go during the day? What do we feed them? Who will pick them up and not only make sure they are staying out of trouble, but keep their minds and bodies healthy and active?
A delayed start to the 2018-2019 school year in Eagle County means many parents are searching for answers to all these questions.
Massive school renovations in the Vail Valley mean an additional month’s worth of food and child care expenses for local families. For some families, this simply means more summer camps and time with the kids, but for the families of Eagle County’s 2,554 students who qualify for free or reduced lunches (which equates to 37 percent of all public school students), a prolonged summer creates a serious household economic crisis.
Fortunately, Eagle County has the help of the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365. The organization has partnered with local and national programs to provide aid during these long summer months.
Chief among these is a partnership with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corp, a national service program for ages 18 to 24 that stations teams all across the country to help aid, support and strengthen communities while developing leaders.
YouthPower365 took on the National Civilian Community Corp team to help with its expanding Summer PwrHrs camps, which increased to full-day programs. The longer hours and additional days of programing meant that YouthPower365 needed some extra helping hands.
“We applied for the second round even before the first round started because we knew this would be a difficult summer for families, and that by extending our work in schools and with our community partners, we could make a dent in the impact of the long break,” said Sara Amberg, of YouthPower365.
In addition to their work with YouthPower365, the National Civilian Community Corp team has also assisted various other aid organizations in the valley, such as the Salvation Army, Our Community Foundation, United Way, Eagle Valley Library District, The Literacy Project, Walking Mountains, the MIRA mobile resource bus and summer free lunches from the Eagle County Schools, Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District and Trinity Church.
“It’s very rare that AmeriCorps extends a team’s rounds and sends them back to the same location, but we proved that our valley really benefits from their help,” said Kendra Cowles, of YouthPower365.
National Civilian Community Corp teams also typically end their summer assignments in late June, but because of the specific needs of the community during the summer, YouthPower365 was awarded a National Civilian Community Corp team for the entire summer.