December 8, 2020
This week Caring for Colorado Foundation announced $800,000 in grants to 40 schools, after-school programs and community-based organizations in 25 counties across the state. The needs expressed in the 100+ grant applications we received are staggering. They paint a picture of children and youth across Colorado struggling to adapt to remote and hybrid learning, falling behind academically, socially and emotionally.
Many of the challenges affecting students and families are far-reaching. Colorado lawmakers estimate as many as 64,000 public school students, particularly in rural districts, do not have access to the internet. Systemic and complex challenges are even greater, including disrupted home environments, food insecurity, caregiver stress and youth caring for younger siblings. Black, Indigenous and Hispanic students and students in families with low incomes are hurt the most.
The agencies we are directing funding to provide critical support for:
- the well-being of children and youth with social connections, mental health support, adequate nutrition, after-school care, enrichment programs and activities;
- academic learning through tutoring, coaching, mentoring and providing quiet, spaces to study;
- offering a safe space for children and youth to engage with their peers and supportive adults; and
- adequate technology and internet access, with assistance to help students and families learn about technology and navigate learning platforms.
Even with our board increasing the amount of funding designated for this opportunity, and Colorado lawmakers approving millions of dollars in one-time support for childcare providers and remote learners, so much more is needed. We urge the public and private sectors to work together for the long-term to provide flexible support to help ensure we don’t sacrifice a generation of our young people. See the list of grantees or read the news release.