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In its 10th Year, YouthQuest Offers Stability as Schools Plan for 2020-21

(FLINT, Mich., Aug. 5, 2020) – Now in its 10th year, YouthQuest will begin Aug. 17 at Flint Community Schools and Sept. 14 at International Academy of Flint. The afterschool enrichment program is working closely with both school districts to align its efforts with their day school formats and protocols.

When and how the program is delivered will vary by site and student preference, but as always, activities will focus on academic support; enrichment; physical fitness and healthy behaviors; nutrition education; youth development and leadership; and family and community engagement.

“Over the past decade, YouthQuest has provided a safe space for students to explore new interests and connect with peers and mentors, ”said Nefertari Jones, program director of YouthQuest, an afterschool and summer enrichment program made possible with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. “Now, it also offers stability and a sense of normalcy during a very uncertain time. Our students need that now more than ever.”

Soon after face-to-face learning was suspended earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, YouthQuest began offering remote learning and enrichment opportunities through the remainder of the school year as well as during the summer. Additionally, the program provided more than 450 families with school supplies to support their learning at home.

Looking forward, YouthQuest will resume on-site programming once schools return to in-person learning. As of right now, Flint Community Schools will resume remote learning on Aug. 5, with plans to remain online until further notice. At International Academy of Flint, school will resume in-person on Aug. 31. Once this happens, YouthQuest will also offer the option to choose remote learning for families who feel hesitant about sending their students back to school.

To prevent burnout due to too much screen time, YouthQuest’s virtual sessions will be shorter than the on-site program, which typically runs three hours. The program will also provide at-home activity packets, which families can also follow alone if they prefer not to participate in the virtual component.

“We want to meet our students and families where they are, so adaptability is key,” Jones said.

YouthQuest is the lead partner for expanded learning for youth through the Flint Community Education Initiative, where the health and safety of students, parents and staff remains the top priority, according to Program Manager Kerry Downs.

“We miss seeing our students in person and are grateful that we’ve been able to stay connected with them in so many ways,” said Downs, noting that Flint CEI has also distributed sports equipment kits, food boxes and more to Flint families over the last few months. “We aim to help them emerge from this public health crisis with strength, hope and resilience.”

Registration for YouthQuest opens Aug. 5 for Flint Community Schools at yquest.org. For YouthQuest’s International Academy of Flint program, registration will begin Aug. 31.

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

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Stock photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Note: Updated Aug. 25, 2020 to reflect updates from Flint Community Schools.

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