Many families have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic right here in our community. When the Rodarte Community Center was closed in mid-March due to the Governor’s Stay at Home orders to keep the virus from spreading, many children that attended the After School Program at the Rodarte Community Center found themselves without vital resources.

The Center was a safe haven for these students after school to receive help with homework, have dinner, and engage with their peers while their parents were at work. As this option was no longer available, some families were struggling with completing classwork as they navigated online learning, many without computers; others missed the meals the Center provided to help feed their children; and the social aspect that the Center offered.

In the summer of 2018, the Rodarte Community Center installed new software called Brightwheel as a means to improve security and access to the building. One of the most impactful features of this software is the App that offers the ability to communicate with families that attend the facility for both the Fun in the Sun program and the After School Program. Coordinators were able to share lesson plans with parents and is an avenue to post photos and daily activities with those families attending the programs, which increased parent engagement.

During the last few months, the staff at the Rodarte Community Center have been able to take this program one-step further and continue to communicate with these students and parents. They provided resources for reading, activities and exercise. They reached out to these families on a regular basis to make sure they were doing okay during the quarantine.

As things settled and the state moved to phase two with Safer at Home orders, the Rodarte Community Center began to pitch in to help those in need. They quickly met with community partners and began collaborating with Weld Food Bank to provide meals to support their families. Each Tuesday and Thursday, parents are able to pick up meals for the entire week for their children and receive a box of emergency food kits to take home. In addition to the nutrition aspect, resources are provided for educational and recreational activities. The High Plains Library District passes out “grab and go” kits and encourage families to participate in the Summer Reading Program. They rallied to make sure that the families they supported did not go without. They maintained these connections, even though the facility was still closed, to help engage their participants in meaningful activities and ensure they were receiving adequate nutrition.

This is one example of how Greeley Recreation staff has been working hard, behind the scenes, to reach out to the community in a time of need.