It may have been raining this weekend, but hundreds of families came together to find sunnier options at the Citywide San Francisco Summer Resource Fair.
Parents, along with their children, excitedly squeezed past each other, traveling from table to table to learn about the programs the city’s offering this summer. The fair was hosted by the Department of Children, Youth and Families, the Recreation and Park Department, and the San Francisco Public Library.
As they made their way through the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park, families collected informational handouts and brochures about a wide range of programs for toddlers to teenagers, including job programs, overnight and sleep-away camps, academic enrichment, arts and music, sports and recreation, science and technology, as well as programming for children with special needs. Many of these opportunities also offer financial aid.
As a father walked past the Kindergarten to College table, the program’s manager, Carol Lei, asked him what school his child attends. Feinstein Elementary, he said.
Perfect, Lei said. His child would have already been enrolled in the Kindergarten to College savings program, which automatically opens a college savings account with $50 for students entering kindergarten at the school district. At present, Lei said 33,000 savings accounts have been created to encourage families to save for tuition.
At another table, the district let parents know about the Out-of-School Time Program and Summer Camp. The first offers academic support and enrichment activities throughout the school year, including spring break and summer, to parents of transitional kindergarteners to fifth graders.
The summer programs aim to keep students academically stimulated by fostering the confidence they need through the next school year.
At the fair, representatives from the Office of Early Care and Education offered $120 in paper money and asked families to put the funds in five categories of their preference, including subsidies for low-income families and financial assistance to middle-income families to increase pay for early childcare professionals.
This was an effort to receive community input on how to best financially support these services with the reserve funds that were allocated to early care education funding on Tuesday.
Licette Montejano, the coordinator for the Child Care Planning and Advisory Council, said that the priorities differ in each community, but that compensation for early care and education professionals is presently leading.
While the forecast predicts more rain this week, families can begin to daydream about the perfect local summer programs for their children. Additional pop-up summer resource fairs will continue throughout San Francisco. Extensive lists of programs and services are also available at the fairs.
For Missionites, the nearest pop-up fair is at the Mission Recreation Center on Saturday, March 2, from 1 to 3 p.m. Representatives from summer programs in the Mission and around the city will be available to discuss their services for children and youth.
Below is a list of some of the programs and services offered at this past weekend’s fair:
The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department offers programs for children and youth, including those with special needs. Eligible residents may also qualify for financial assistance through the Recreation Scholarship Program. Registration for the summer day camps opens on Saturday, March 16. Missionites may register online or at the Mission Recreation Center.
The YMCA of San Francisco has sports, day and specialty camps, as well as opportunities for teenagers to practice their leadership skills. For families interested in registering for these programs at the Mission YMCA, online registration began on January 28, while in-person registration begins on March 1. Eligible families may also apply for financial assistance.
Open to first through eighth graders in locations throughout the Bay Area, the Adventures in Writing Camp aspires to change students’ relationships and attitudes with writing through music, technology, games and other creative methods, said Caitlin Orr, who is the facilities director for the program. Students are able to write about any topic of their choosing. Writing instruction is aligned with Common Core standards. Each program lasts two weeks, and extended care is available.
Aim High is a free academic and enrichment program in the Bay Area. Its credo is to nurture the potential of middle-school students from low-income neighborhoods to prepare them for high school. The program will begin accepting applications from fifth to eighth graders, but not everyone who applies is accepted.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis beginning March 8. The program dates for the Mission are June 24 to July 26 and daily attendance is required. Aim High also offers high-school and college internships for students interested in pursuing a career in education.
The San Francisco Police Department was also in attendance to bring awareness of their cadet program to high school and college students in the city. They hope youth will gain a sense of what it is like to serve and build trust within the community. Students must have and maintain a 2.0 grade point average and pass a criminal history background check. The police department will host two informational sessions in April and the application is due on Monday, May 6.
For the adults, Arriba Juntos offers free services for asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants in San Francisco and neighboring counties. English as Second Language classes are available, as are technology, health and general community services to help with work training and job placement.