Youth N.O.W. | December 2020 News
A Letter From Our Executive Director
Perseverance? Resilience? Adaptability? Flexibility?   

 Ability to bounce back  · bouncebackability?

Everyone knows that 2020 was one for the books!! And Youth N.O.W. is all about learning...... so, what did we learn?

For us at Youth N.O.W., it has been everything of the above and more. Everything that we in the field of youth development believe is essential to foster in our youth has been front and center for us as the adults, and as an organization, to hold as our own values to strive for. 

 Youth N.O.W. responded quickly from March 16th onwards knowing that we were a resource that had a prominent role to play in the pandemic to support those students who were going to be significantly more affected by a distance learning format. 
The organization extended hours to support 130 youth during Fall 2020, created a morning Pod for students home alone without supervision needing support, re-envisioned a safe space outside, purchased and increased technology ready for virtual tutoring through new platforms, tripled its virtual service learner base for tutors, brought in on-site volunteers to help siblings, began transportation services as needed to get students to our site, brought in food daily for students from the school district and sent home food to families, provided resources and referrals, provided family art and activity Saturdays, and daily basketball to create connections and normality, recognized the need to support migrant family youth, worked in person 1:1 every afternoon with students that needed the in-person support while always understanding the risks, and maintaining a safe environment constantly.
As the Executive Director of Youth N.O.W. I have so much more to share with you about all that happened this year….

But what I would like to recognize is that what we found is creating resilience in a child’s life is what correlates to the resilience that allowed Youth N.O.W. to pivot: Having caring people in one’s life.

 Youth N.O.W. aims to be that other place of belonging with caring people for our youth, but through this challenging year, we needed our own caring people, and I can tell you that so many showed up. 
The beginning of our partnerships with Reiter Berry Farms, Inc. (photo from February)
Our Morning pod which serves 24 students - thanks to the support from Twin Lakes Church
One of our youngest Youth N.O.W. members with his volunteer tutor from Twin Lakes
Thank-you to all our regular individual funders, new donors big and small, thank-you to our local Foundations for choosing us this year as a grantee believing in our work, thank-you for the additional funding that you so graciously offered while giving at the same time to so many other causes.

Thank-you CSUMB for the collaboration creating new relationships for our students while you supported them academically. Youth N.O.W has so much gratitude for caring community members who signed up willing to learn how to tutor our students virtually, and those that come on-site to spend the hours sitting with young students patiently as they help them focus, attend classes, do homework in a format that none of us knew 6 months ago. 

Thank-you Twin Lakes Church for your support that created our outside space, allowed the hiring of extra tutors, and for putting the word out for us to the community for volunteers and funds. Thank-you to our United4youth partners for collaborations. Thank-you to our community partners who made our Saturday family days fun with bike riding and art. Thank-you to our board who stepped in when we lost essential funding and rallied around the impact our organization makes. Thank-you to everyone currently supporting our active fundraising campaigns to keep our doors open in 2021.

Thank-you to those older and younger giving support for I have seen a broad range of people stepping up and nothing is better than seeing a group of high school students from a local school such as Monte Vista’s National Honor Society know that they too can and need to be active participants in creating a thriving community. Thank-you to the amazing staff of Youth N.O.W. who individualize their support for every student, going out of their way every day to show that this is not just a job for them, but a mission to contribute their time and energy to this next generation of our community.
#United4Youth partners - YouthSERVE
Saturday family event - bilingual art lesson with Nessa, SPECTRA Artist
1:1 twice weekly 90-min tutoring
Basketball Clinic with Coach Bobo
Morning Pod - Academic support
Relationships are what matter.

I thank every person that has been a part of our support team with shared values and aspirations that have come forward during this challenging time for our youth and our organization.

In the past year, we have had maybe just a periodic episode in our lifetimes, but for many, and especially our young people the exposure has been to many life changes that include school closings, loss of family income, disrupted relationships, and exposure to injustices. Our kids are stressed and vulnerable. Even after the pandemic passes, the impact on our young people will be noticed through delayed academic and social-emotional growth. 
 
 We need to show them hope. We need to be those caring adults for all children and youth; be there for them in these years that come as they make up for lost learning and a shaky confidence. We need to continue to model for them how to turn problems into opportunities. We need to model resilience and show that we are all the authors of our own stories and can write the endings despite the obstacles and barriers along the way.
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As we head into 2021, we look forward to your ongoing support and the strengthening of relationships in our community. Our students will need a place to come back to, to belong to, to recover. They will continue to need your and our support. They will need places like Youth N.O.W. and we will be here for them with your help. 

With Gratitude,

Michele Chaney
(Executive Director – Youth N.O.W.)

  “It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” - Epicutetus
Join Us In Supporting Our Students!
With the sudden loss of important funding for us, Youth N.O.W. program services are at risk for 2021. Make a donation to our Santa Cruz Gives campaign to support our no-cost tutoring for distance-learning students.
Once you've donated... Help us spread the word!
We are currently in 2nd place on the Donor Leaderboard for the Santa Cruz Gives campaign! This campaign will run until December 31st so, there is still time to help us get to the top and win the $1K prize for most donors.
MS & HS Student Of The Month
Giselle Sanchez
7th grade
Aptos Jr. High

Giselle Sanchez is a 7th grade student at Aptos Jr. High School. She joined Youth N.O.W. this fall for virtual tutoring. Her gracious and dedicated nature has earned her the title of December 2020 Student of the Month. Giselle has shown her dedication and commitment to herself and her education by showing up on time to every single one of her sessions. She was always understanding if her tutor was unable to make their session, and was extremely kind to the tutor she was paired up with for the day. Adjusting to distance learning has not been easy for any of our students, but Giselle credits the unconditional support she has received from her mom for her resiliency and dedication. Giselle enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with friends and family in her free time. Her dream is to attend The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in San Francisco. Although we have only virtually met Giselle this year, we look forward to when we can meet her in person! Continue the great work Giselle!
Kevin Albor
9th grade
Watsonville High

This month, Kevin Albor has been selected as our Student of the Month! Before enrolling at our high school site, Kevin was a long time-member of our middle school program. Kevin loves spending time at Youth N.O.W. because he is able to hang out with his friends and with his tutor, David. Kevin can be described as a very hard working student. He always tries to get as much of his homework done before tutoring as possible. This allows for him to have some extra time during his tutoring time slot to play basketball with the staff or play some multiplayer games with his friends here at the center. Youth N.O.W. is more than just a homework spot for Kevin. When asked about the center he said, “...Youth N.O.W has helped me become a good student and keep my grades up. All the staff makes me feel safe, comfortable, and cared for when I’m there. I am always happy to know that I will always have friends there.” We are very happy to have Kevin as part of our Youth N.O.W. family!
Have A Great Holiday Season!

The last day of program will be on December 16, 2020 and our services will re-open January 25, 2021.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Much love and appreciation from your Youth N.O.W. Family ❤️