Hannah Woggon, violence prevention coordinator with CHI Saint Joseph Health in Lexington, offers summer camps for elementary school kids. Woggon’s work focuses on providing safe spaces for kids and families in the community, and for several years, the Consolidated Summer Enrichment Program has been an integral part of this mission. Seeing as this was not our average summer, Woggon had to rethink how she would provide activities for children in the community when camp was no longer an option. Her solution was partnering with Consolidated Baptist Church to create activity boxes for kids to pick up and take home, coupled with virtual classes for kids to interact with volunteers. Kids picked up their boxes each Friday, and activities began online the next Monday. They could choose from a wide variety of topics, such as science experiments and art projects. This allowed kids to interact with their peers and stay busy during the summer months without risking their health.
“During times of crisis, those who need the most help often don’t receive it,” Woggon said. “When the need of our community increases, our efforts must increase, as well.”
Similarly, Mollie Harris, LSW, violence prevention coordinator with CHI Saint Joseph Health in Saint Joseph London, also saw the needs of her community increase during the pandemic. She leads the Nurturing Children Program, which focuses on reducing child abuse and fatalities in children under the age of 4.
“Our parenting classes are about teaching parents how to increase bonding and have empathy for their child,” Harris said. “Before the pandemic, we provided in-person visits, parenting groups and in-office classes.”
Providing online parenting classes proved beneficial. Harris saw an increase in parent involvement, and many parents are attending online classes with children at their side. The number of families attending classes and referrals have also increased.
“I’ve been proud of our ability to adapt and give families the support they need,” Harris said.
Both programs are funded through the CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations.