This month I want to acknowledge and honor our amazing local team.
As you can imagine, the past year and a half has been tremendously challenging for students throughout Rocky Point. The transition to remote learning was especially challenging for the students we support as many of them live in homes without consistent electricity, let alone access to computers/tablets and the internet. Many young people in the community were also left without consistent access to food and other basic needs as the pandemic left their parents out of work for months. Fortunately, our wonderful, committed local team adopted the motto “WHATEVER IT TAKES” and, with the support of so many of you, they have worked tirelessly to provide the students in our program with the resources and support they need to stay in school.
I am so proud of how this team stepped up to provide food for thousands of locals when the town was shut down. From March through August of 2020, they worked ten hours a day, six days a week creating and distributing hundreds of food bags daily for families in urgent need. I am also very proud of their commitment and willingness to go above and beyond to find ways to help the hundreds of students we support stay in school during these challenging times.
Last year after the town reopened for tourism, it was announced that students would not be returning to in-person classes and we could not re-open our homework clubs. Our team knew that the majority of the 588 students in our program at that time would not be able to continue with their education without access to the resources needed for remote learning. They also knew that many of our students would need access to consistent academic support to succeed with remote learning.
Unfortunately, because we have not been able to re-open our three homework clubs, finding ways to provide students with consistent academic support has been especially challenging for our team. However, they knew that many of the hundreds of young people we support, especially the younger students, would likely drop out of school without access to consistent academic support and resources. So, instead of giving up and waiting to be able to reopen our three homework clubs for in-person academic support, thanks to donations from many generous donors, they were able to purchase a used van. For the past year they have used that van to travel to six remote, outdoor sites where teachers meet daily with students in small groups to provide them with the academic support and resources they need to stay in school. Although this model requires a lot more time, energy and travel, the team committed to making it work—even during the cold winter and hot summer months.
As I am writing this, schools in Rocky Point have officially re-opened for in-person classes. Unfortunately, however, many of the local public schools were severely vandalized as they sat vacant for so many months and the buildings are not functional. Also, many parents are choosing to not send their children to school due to concerns with the rapid spread of the Delta variant. So, I honestly do not know how things will play out or what our program will look like this year. However, I am confident and grateful that our AIM Peñasco team will continue to do ‘WHATEVER IT TAKES’ to provide local students with a path out of poverty through education.
You can make a tax-deductible donation to help us support the efforts of our incredible local team at www.stepsoflove.org
Our awesome team of teachers are ready to do whatever it takes again this school year!