After 15 months of virtual classes, Hands4Hope LA is now open again. Hands4Hope LA offers afterschool programs for kids ages 8 to 18, an academic summer camp, and resources and support for parents.
The unofficial NoHo motto is: “NoHo is only as great as its people.” This summer we are highlighting some of our awesome creative neighbors. In the case of Hands4Hope LA, it is many people who work together to create a program for our local North Hollywood youth and families.
From Lydia Floyd, founder of Hands4HopeLA.
“Although this year was completely different than the past 21 years since we were founded in 2000, it has been eye-opening and amazing our ability to pivot to offering our same wonderful classes online. Our first issue was how do we provide musical equipment. With a wonderful donation of guitars, and the purchase of drum pads and roll-up pianos we were able to loan or give equipment to the kids to take home.
We then needed to get the kids supplies for art class and yarn and other supplies for knitting, crocheting, sewing and cooking class. But, thanks to an Amazon account, we delivered lots of fun to the kids. Fortunately, video game creation, sign language, and dance did not require anything sent home for the kids. We were able to recruit 53 kids, some from other states (Wisconsin, Texas, Florida). It has been so great that we are offering virtual classes over the summer simultaneously with our summer camp.
We are two weeks into our summer program the kids learn a different topic each week. They learned writing in fun ways the first week and this past week there were discussions about our presidents in history week. We are looking forward to technology, science, math, and reading for a total of six weeks of keeping their brains engaged over the summer. They are also having fun field trips, this week, Castaic Lake.
Our parent workshops proved to be great too. Some parents who were unable to make our in-person support events joined us on zoom. We had speakers on topics like Stress and Financial Management and guest speakers from Councilman Krekorian’s office and County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office to let the parents know about the resources available for them. We give prizes to the parents, they could win a bill payment or grocery gift cards. We have had over 50 parents join us for three workshops so far this year.
We had quite a bit to do to get rid of the cobwebs and dust at our site at First Baptist Church of NoHo to prepare for the staff and kids to return. The building is over 100 years old and needs a lot of upgrades. Now we are focused on continuing to engage kids and their parents in meaningful programs to give them better lives.
We appreciate all of our funders, volunteers, and supporters. In this our 21st year of service to the community, we are proud to be back up and running safely. The kids wear masks, take their temperatures, and socially distance themselves. Our staff is first aid/ CPR trained and the kids’ safety is our top priority. The impact of the pandemic on their lives and what we do to help them is the subject of our grant from the Department of Mental Health this year.