September 22, 2021
Executive Director, Children of the Valley
We are so pleased to kick off the 2021-2022 school year with a bang! We welcomed just over 50 students in our first week, with 3 classrooms up and running at Bethany. Since Mount Vernon schools are back in session full time, we have once again shifted back to an after school program. Students arrive by bus directly from their elementary schools and then get time to unwind, play outside, eat a nutritious snack prepared by our amazing volunteers, all before they get started with their daily reading and homework. We wouldn’t be where we are today without having gone through what we did the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic. I always believe that through challenges there is always opportunity. When the pandemic first hit and schools closed in March of 2020, the verse that the lord gave me was “the LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave or forsake you…Cast your care on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” I held strong onto this verse every single day, when there was so much fear and panic amongst the children and families we serve, I knew the lord would provide what we needed in order to serve these families and our community.
2020 was a year that many of us will not soon forget. It was a year full of challenges and unprecedented circumstances. Despite this, our community came together to support one another. Since March 2020, we have been challenged to shift and pivot our services in order to meet the basic needs of our community. The Mount Vernon School District leaned on us during this past year to assist in the district’s efforts to provide full-day academic and personal support for our communities most under-resourced children. We were able to expand our program by opening an additional 3 classrooms at Bethany and 2 at Centennial Elementary School, serving over 100 children. These were children who were left at home unsupervised and not attending remote learning at all and or did not have access to the technology and support to access their remote education. We had one student who had not accessed her remote learning since schools closed in March of 2020, with over 100 incomplete assignments, we were able to get her caught up and complete by the end of the school year. During this tumultuous year, we established new partnerships with the Skagit Valley Family YMCA, which allowed us to expand capacity and provide services to additional children and families in need of support. In the last year, COV grew exponentially and there are plans to continue expanding services and sites into other areas throughout Skagit County. I attribute all of this to the hand of the lord, he has not left us, he has provided and he continues to be there opening doors and making way for us to continue to serve those children and families most in need.
We are where we are today because of YOU! We continue to be humbled and inspired by your generosity and care for our community’s children. Without you we would not be able to provide a loving and safe academic environment for our most under-resourced children.
Thank you for partnering with us and helping us provide a space for each child we serve to feel loved, to see hope and to get the support they need to thrive!