With COVID restrictions loosening, Denver families are excited to sign their kids up for camps and activities this summer but may be uncertain what options exist. RESCHOOL, a Colorado-based nonprofit that creates equitable access to learning that happens in and beyond school, recently launched a new resource that can help. DISCOVER is a free, online and mobile-friendly tool for families to easily learn about organizations providing learning resources and activities for children, ages birth to 18, when they aren’t in school.
In a 2019 Colorado statewide study RESCHOOL conducted with its partners at the OMNI Institute, 75% of the 200 parents surveyed said they struggled finding learning activities for their children when they were not in school. Parents also reported that it is hard to find affordable programming and scholarships, and programming that is conveniently located, interesting to their child, age-appropriate, and/or that reflects their culture, values and identity. DISCOVER gives parents a snapshot of this information and contact information so they can learn more about the organization and sign up for programming.
DISCOVER can help families find out-of-school learning opportunities that are in-person, live or pre-recorded online as well as activities their children can experience at home. More than 55 organizations are listed on the site across various categories including academic support, arts, community engagement, life skills, physical activity and outdoors and STEM. Approximately 49 of these organizations offer free programming or scholarships, and RESCHOOL is adding more everyday. The majority of programming on DISCOVER right now is based in the Denver Metro area, and RESCHOOL is looking into expanding the site to include programming in additional regions of Colorado in the near future. DISCOVER also makes it easy for families to see if organizations have expertise in supporting children with disabilities, find organizations who have leaders that identify similarly to their children and determine whether there is language support in a child’s primary language.
“COVID-19 not only dramatically changed what in-school learning looked like, it also shut down child care and out-of-school learning programs forcing families and providers to adapt in a wide variety of ways,” said Amy Anderson, Executive Director at RESCHOOL. “There are so many factors that go into choosing activities for your kids, and so many great options out there. We want to make it as easy as possible to connect families and learning providers.”
COVID has impacted families financially as well, oftentimes leaving less money to put towards activities outside of school. Since 2018, RESCHOOL has raised and distributed nearly $140,000 to eliminate financial barriers for children to access activities with fees and to reduce the costs organizations incur to provide free out-of-school programming to kids and teens. RESCHOOL hopes to raise and distribute nearly $400,000 in learning and provider dollars in 2021.