One month ago, our blog was titled, “Delayed but Still Determined.” That phrase has become integral to the staff here at SSYO during this season of the Covid-19 pandemic. One thing is true for SSYO as much as it is true for all of you reading this: The pandemic has changed the way we operate, but it has not changed who we are. Our mission at SouthSide Youth Outreach is to build strong, young lives so that the community will thrive. That goal remains at the heart of what we do, even now.
Looking back over the year, it has been a joy to remember the fruit of our time with students, though we cannot currently be with them in person. At THRIVE, we experienced students who were excited to arrive each week, challenged by our discussions, and engaged in our games and activities together. Furthermore, we were able to see students growing to respect us as leaders and warm up to us as friends. For now, our discussions have been limited to hand written letters and Zoom video calls with a few, but we cannot wait to gather together again because we have seen what it means to connect with students face to face. Unfortunately, with the announcement of Oregon schools closing through the end of the school year, our regular student programs have also ceased through that time. However, we have hope for what the future may hold. We will continue to build strong, young lives in whatever way we can, serving the needs of our community and continuing our relationships with students.
Though our regular school year programs are on pause, a few new doors have begun to open for our organization. First, we have been approved as an emergency child care facility. We are in the registration process for our classroom of students. We are excited to have this opportunity to serve a need in this difficult time and to spend time with students. Also, we have been able to move our staff’s effort toward our upcoming fundraiser event. One week from now, May 8th, we will be hosting our first ever Live Virtual Fundraiser! We can’t wait to be present (at least online) with you all for this event. It will be an event you won’t want to miss, with giveaways, face time with our staff, opportunities to ask us questions, and a chance to pie a staff member in the face!
Finally, we cannot cease to mention how much each of you means to us. Your love and support is a continual gift and encouragement to each of us at SSYO. Though times and seasons continue to change, one thing does not: together we will build strong, young lives so that our community will thrive.