BLOOMINGTON — The Boys and Girls Club in Bloomington wasted no time serving their community in crisis since the lock down started, and throughout the pandemic they’ve made changes to make sure kids have the support they need to thrive through it.
“We very quickly pivoted, our board of directors, our staff, all came together to put together a plan to serve kids face to face on April 27 of last year. Just a good, you know, five or six weeks into the pandemic, we were serving kids. Face to face mode, social distancing, mask wearing, regular hand washing,” Executive Director Jeff Baldwin said.
The three Boys and Girls Clubs in Bloomington didn’t wait to serve families because they knew they didn’t have that kind of time. Right away they started putting children in pods or small groups and following CDC restrictions.
"We called right away to check in to see how they were feeling, and that was really an important part of that process and then additionally, we knew that just wasn't going to be happening and those kids that were in those tough situations were going to be in those tough situations every day. That motivated us to move as fast as we could to be serving in person,” Baldwin said.
Even for the children who are not stuck in tough situations, they know it’s hard for everyone right now.
“There is no doubt that this time of isolation for kids, even those kids who are in healthy homes is not what you want them to be, and they need to be engaged, they need to be interacting. They need to have that normalcy that all of us are craving,” Baldwin said.
As more people get vaccinated and the restrictions ease, the club said they won’t change everything back to how it used to be.
“We're going to see ourselves move back towards somewhat of a traditional club format, but we are going to retain some of the really cool things that we've learned through the pandemic as well,” Baldwin said.
“Very few people understand the immense value of a Boys and Girls Club within their community. We are positioned to give kids magic soup that’s the combination of great people who are modeling appropriate behavior, coaching and teaching you programs that keep children involved. All of that combined creates that magic soup,” Baldwin added.