July 1, 2020

Not Another Lazy Summer

It's looked a little different this summer...


In December of 2019, we set an ambitious goal of serving 500+ youth in 2020, a whopping 25% increase from 2019. Although in-person programming came to a grinding halt in March, we didn't let COVID-19 take the strategic steering wheel away from us. By creatively and quickly shifting our programming to a virtual model—both live sessions via Zoom and pre-recorded video sessions, we served 183 youth online during this month alone.

And after months of an office devoid of youth energy, we welcomed 9 campers back to Youth in Focus for reduced in-person summer camps on Monday. Because of COVID-19, we offered pay-as-you-can summer camp for the first time. And as we've discovered, yes, you can still have fun and make art while wearing masks, using loads of hand sanitizer, and practicing social distancing!

Drew demonstrates functions of the camera to the Street and Nature Photography camp this week.
Drew demonstrates functions of the camera to the Street and Nature Photography camp this week.

Community organizations are looking for partners to supplement their programming and engage their youth during these stay-at-home and social-distancing times. We developed a set of 10 pre-recorded photography lessons complete with camera and non-camera activities for Launch Learning to use across their 7 summer camp locations. Our customized lessons replaced cancelled field trips for over 70 3rd-5th graders. We also loaned them 20 brand new cameras to ensure all youth had access to quality equipment!

And in a case of mistaken identity, we secured a new partner in the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, who thought we were an LA-based organization. They were so inspired by our virtual classes that they pushed to make a partnership happen. Originally planned for 25 youth, we just completed four 1-hour zoom sessions to 94 youth on understanding narrative and message in photography relating to the public health topics of Environmental Justice and Infant Mortality.