Outstanding virtual programming at the Indio Teen Center (ITC) caught the eye of California School-Age Consortium (CalSAC) this week. The state’s largest provider of training and learning opportunities for out-of-school-time programs is prominently featuring ITC in its year-end fundraising campaign.
Although CalSAC typically recognizes nonprofits for their efforts to provide programing when children are out of school, the organization singled out Indio’s Teen Center as a municipal program. CalSAC pointed out that pre-COVID, the ITC was serving 120 to 160 students a day from Indio and surrounding cities.
The ITC went virtual on April 20, 2020, shortly after the onset of the pandemic. Even during the summer, ITC continued to provide FREE virtual programming for Indio teens in grades 8 through 12 via Zoom and Instagram Live.
The need to connect with teens was so critical, ITC’s virtual programs expanded over the next few months to include two daily programs every weekday. Now students have the opportunity to participate in a daily culinary arts program and an arts and craft activity, Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Depending on the activity, up to two dozen teens join each program, with new teens joining all the time. Some of the most well attended classes recently have included ceramics and tie-dye. “The most popular cooking classes, are what the kids love to eat,” offered Rosalva Campos, who directs the ITC. “This month it was sugar cookies.”
In addition to guided programming, ITC provides FREE contactless delivery of program supplies, such as arts-and-crafts and recipe ingredients.
“This type of programming is crucial, as it helps youth stay connected to one another and to caring adults, and at the same time, learn life skills,” Campos added.