Boys and Girls Club kicks off modified keiki summer program

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kamalei Keanini and Johnny Chavez put on masks at the Boys and Girls Club before going inside for the summer program Monday in Hilo.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald A youth director takes Keola Heanu's temperature before he enters the Boys and Girls Club for the summer program Monday in Hilo.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island started a free-to-participate modified summer enrichment program for community keiki on Monday.

The summer program usually hosts over 120 youth, but the COVID-19 pandemic and related health concerns have limited this year’s program to 50 children.

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Participants are broken up into smaller groups, 10 or fewer children per group, with established social distancing measures in place.

New youth engagement activities have been developed to assure health and safety while maintaining the fun.

All staff and youth are provided with face masks each day if they don’t have their own. Staff conduct temperature checks each morning and have established scheduled hand washing between activities and before meals.

“It’s a new reality and an adjustment for everyone,” Chief Executive Officer Chad Cabral said in a press release. “But the kids that attended (Monday) were just so happy to be able to get out and engage with other youth.”

Typically, the program would cost $600 for children to attend, but the Boys & Girls Club have waived the fee to support families that may be affected significantly by the economic downturn as a result of the pandemic.

All children that attend receive a breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack each day, free of charge as part of the program.

The free summer program is being provided in addition to the Community Meal Support initiative, which the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island continues to offer.

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“The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island will continue to assist youth and families on Hawaii Island with their critical needs and essential youth development opportunities for as long as we are able to,” Cabral said.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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