For ASAP, like many non-profit organizations, the coinciding crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice has both reaffirmed the vital importance of our work and made clear the urgent need for us to do better. As we begin a new school year, we are reminded of the acute toll these crises have taken on the young people of our city – the feelings of fear, uncertainty, anxiety, isolation, economic hardship, and exhaustion that impact their daily lives and threaten their well-being.
As leading advocates for the importance of out-of-school time in the region, we know that ASAP’s work and the work of our peer organizations is needed now more than ever to mitigate the effects of these crises – to create healthy outlets for young people, to provide relief for working families, and to foster a sense of community even when we are apart.
No doubt, things will look different this school year. Yet, we at ASAP remain steadfast in our commitment to giving young people in Philadelphia the out-of-school time opportunities they deserve to keep them enriched and inspired amidst these uncommonly difficult times.
For ASAP’s partners — schools, out-of-school time providers, recreation centers, and libraries, and more — we are here to help you provide engaging and exciting virtual enrichment programs while you prioritize the health of safety of your students, parents, and staff. This includes offering free virtual trainings for staff and volunteers, providing virtual activity guides and content libraries, and organizing a range of virtual events and competitions.
We know that many of our perennial partners will proceed with modified in-person programming which we will also support through virtual resources and platforms, providing equipment and curriculum, or other means that limit physical interaction with ASAP personnel.
And when health guidelines permit and ASAP feels confident it can ensure the safety of participants, we look forward to resuming our traditional programming, including our large in-person events and competitions.
This decision, as with all others, will be made in consideration of the needs of our city’s children and in consultation with our key stakeholders. For we also know that to truly meet this moment we need to be prepared to listen and learn from the young people and families we serve and the partners we support.
So as you navigate ASAP’s new website and learn more about our programs, we encourage you to reach out to us to start the conversation for how we can best support you this year. We welcome your ideas and feedback, and we thank you for your partnership in this most important work.
Yours in service,