Mayor London Breed Announces Launch of Community Hubs Initiative
45 Community Hubs opened their doors today to approximately 800 children and youth; Mayor Breed’s annual backpack giveaway is providing 3,000 backpacks with school supplies to San Francisco students
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, Department of Children, Youth and Their Families Director Maria Su, and Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg today launched the Community Hubs Initiative, which provide in-person support for distance learning and out of school time activities for San Francisco’s highest needs children and youth throughout the City. The new initiative will roll out in phases, including today’s launch of 45 Hubs. Mayor Breed’s annual Backpack and School Supplies Giveaway will also continue its ongoing distribution of back-to-school items at the Community Hubs.
“We created the Community Hubs to make sure our City’s children and youth who are most vulnerable continue to have the support and resources they need to learn, grow, and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Breed. “I’m excited that we started the program today so that we can serve kids and families who need extra support—whether it’s help with distance learning, access to healthy food, or a place to safely interact with other kids their age. We knew it would take a village to get our young people the support and education they need, and City departments and our community partners have stepped up and worked together to turn our vision for the Community Hubs into reality. I want to thank DCYF, the Recreation and Park Department, the Library, and our community partners for creating this innovative solution for San Francisco students.”
The 45 Hubs launched today will serve approximately 800 K-6th grade students. San Francisco will continue to roll-out the Community Hubs Initiative over the coming weeks, and by mid-November, the City will launch over 100 Hub sites, providing approximately 3,000 students with full-day, in-person programming and distance learning support. The Community Hubs will help children and youth access technology for distance learning and provide additional enrichment programming including STEAM, literacy, and nature-based outdoor play and education. Offering social-emotional support services, three healthy meals and snack a day, and recreation and physical activities, the Hubs provide safe and digitally connected spaces within walking distance from children’s homes that will be staffed by Recreation and Parks Department employees and community-based organization providers with strong track records of implementing high-quality youth development and culturally competent programming.
“The Community Hubs Initiative was designed to support children and youth who have the absolute highest level of needs,” said Maria Su, DCYF Director. “As with anything COVID related, we experienced many challenges in getting this Initiative off the ground from frequent changes of health guidance and restrictions to San Francisco being placed on the State’s monitoring list and more recently, the allowance for schools to reopen. Despite these rollercoaster of changes, DCYF has remained both responsive and firmly focused on our highest need youth. These Hubs will give our City’s most disconnected families a safe resource to support their children’s learning and well-being. We are absolutely committed to empowering our most vulnerable families who do not often experience the benefit of having options and choices.”
DCYF worked closely with other City partners to set up the initiative, including the City Administrator, Department of Technology, COVID Command Center and the Joint Information Center. These partners were instrumental in ensuring that hub sites were digitally connected and equipped with crucial supplies such as Chromebooks, personal protective equipment, and cleaning supplies. The initiatve also partnered with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH), HOPE SF, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOCHD), the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) and the Human Services Agency (HSA) to conduct direct, in-person outreach to our City’s historically disconnected communities.
The first wave of focused outreach prioritized the following groups of children and youth: residents of HOPE SF sites, public housing, family RVs parks and Single Room Occupancy Hotels (SROs); families experiencing homelessness; children in the foster care system; English language learners; and low-income families, with a focus on historically impacted communities, including people who identify as African American, Latino/a/x, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian. Higher enrollment priority was provided for families who are involved in multi-social service systems, are part of multiple priority populations, and families who are without Internet access or digital learning devices at home.
Mayor Breed’s annual Backpack and School Supply Giveaway is underway with the distribution of backpacks and school supplies to 3,000 San Francisco students at Community Hubs. The backpacks include supplies like notebooks, pencils, folders, and art supplies, for students to use as they participate in distance learning either at home or from a Community Hub. This year’s backpack giveaway is funded by the City’s Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
“The fact of the matter is that the pandemic exposed what we knew before shelter in place — that community-based education supports are as fundamental to the health and well-being of San Franciscans as food and shelter,” said Theo Miller, HOPE SF Director in the Office of the Mayor. “Through the Community Hub Initiative, our communities have shown their extraordinary resilience and innovation, partnering with the City and residents in ways that beat back the effects of this virus on educational access, give us hope for our futures, and strengthen our neighborhoods for the long haul.”
In addition to the Community Hubs, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department recently launched Emergency Child and Youth Care spaces at five recreation centers to serve the children of healthcare workers and City employees serving as Disaster Service Workers. Programming began on August 31st at the Glen Park, Richmond, Sunset, Hamilton, and Potrero Hill recreation centers.
“Starting on day one of the stay at home order, we have provided kids safe, fun ways to play and given parents piece of mind—be it through emergency child care or summer camps,” said Phil Ginsburg, General Manager of the Recreation and Parks Department. “We are so proud to be a part of giving San Francisco kids support, joy and a sense of normalcy.”
In accordance with recent state and local public health guidance, the Hubs will host up to three cohorts of 14 children at over 100 sites throughout the city. Hub sites include recreation centers, branch libraries, churches, cultural centers, and several community-based organization sites. The Hubs are designed to keep students and staff safe; each location will operate under a City-approved Health and Safety Plan and will follow all masking and social distancing requirements. All staff members will have access to regular COVID-19 testing.
For more information about the Community Hubs Initiative, go to: dcyf.org/care.