Salvation Army’s Kid’s Cafe provides safe after school program for kids – Monterey Herald

SALINAS — A number of minivans sit parked among the many throngs of elementary college college students, ready mother and father and the fleet of college buses outdoors Santa Rita Elementary College.

Whereas some college students wave goodbye to their associates and rush dwelling to look at tv or go to after-school actions, 36 youngsters pile into the minivans and head to the Salvation Military’s youth middle.

Initially began in 1994 by the Salvation Military Salinas Corps, the Child’s Cafe’s function is to supply a protected after-school surroundings for kids in the neighborhood.

Salvation Military Lieutenants Ezequiel Hernandez and his spouse, Katherine Hernandez joined the Salvation Military Salinas Corps in July 2020. On the time, the Child’s Cafe program was shut down due to pandemic restrictions, however Hernandez stated he and Katherine noticed the necessity for this system greater than ever.

“One of many important causes we restarted it’s as a result of we noticed the necessity in our group for folks to assist the kids after college,” defined Hernandez. “After two years of COVID, we observed that there was a deficit academically (for) the kids … So we observed straight away how vital this system was going to be for folks, but in addition for the youngsters to ensure that they had a second hand serving to them with homework, social expertise, staff constructing actions, stuff like that.”

Hernandez and Katherine Hernandez run this system for elementary and center school-aged college students within the Santa Rita Union College District. This system picks up youngsters from Santa Rita Elementary College and La Joya Elementary College and takes them to the youth middle, the place Hernandez and his spouse present meals, actions and homework assist till mother and father can decide them up.

Whereas 36 college students are presently enrolled within the Child’s Cafe program, much more youngsters are on a ready listing. Due to the nationwide bus driver scarcity, Hernandez defined that this system has been pressured to depend on the minivans as transportation till they will discover a driver. He stated that with a bus driver, this system might take 50-55 youngsters in whole.

The Child’s Cafe program operates Monday by Friday from 3 p.m. to six p.m. Hernandez, Katherine and a small group of workers and volunteers assist the kids with their homework and supply them dinner.

For the remainder of the time, college students in this system have the chance to take part in arts and crafts, play sports activities outdoors or select from a variety of indoor actions, together with puzzles, board video games and constructing blocks.

Katherine Hernandez stated this system additionally hosts vacation events all year long for the scholars and teaches them team-building video games and actions to develop their social expertise.

“We do video games for them to have the ability to socialize a bit higher with different youngsters their age and likewise only for them to really feel comfy in expressing themselves,” she stated. “They’ve been so secluded for the final couple of years that we’ve observed a few of them are just a little behind in studying and their math. So simply doing actions that can assist them (and) on days that they don’t have homework, now we have packets which might be put collectively relying on their grade degree.”

This system prices households $30 per week and a further $10 for transportation from college. Hernandez stated this system payment covers provides for actions and allows them to supply college provides for all the youngsters.

A scholarship is on the market for households that may’t afford the $30-$40 weekly payment. Hernandez additionally stated authorities grant funding gives cash for this system’s meals.

“We service a number of several types of households from totally different social backgrounds and monetary backgrounds, however most of our households are low-income,” Hernandez stated. “Generally that’s a problem as a result of we wish to have the ability to present all of those companies – our meals are free and all of those actions aren’t any value to the mother and father. But it surely additionally makes it just a little bit more durable for us to truly be capable to afford to have a bus experience as a result of that implies that the fee must go to the mother and father.”

The Kid's Cafe program is run by the Salvation Army Salinas Corps. The program picks up children from Santa Rita Elementary School and La Joya Elementary School and takes them to the youth center, where Hernandez and his wife provide meals, activities and homework help until parents are able to pick them up (John Docter - Salvation Army).
The Child’s Cafe program is run by the Salvation Military Salinas Corps. This system picks up youngsters from Santa Rita Elementary College and La Joya Elementary College and takes them to the youth middle, the place Hernandez and his spouse present meals, actions and homework assist till mother and father are capable of decide them up (John Docter – Salvation Military).

To oldsters, the Child’s Cafe program is a protected place the place their youngsters can hang around after college, get some additional assistance on homework and hang around with their associates, defined Katherine Hernandez. However to college students, it’s an opportunity to have enjoyable, make lasting friendships and be a child.

Katherine Hernandez stated some college students in this system have been going since they have been in kindergarten. And a few are so grateful for this system that they arrive again as highschool college students to volunteer, she continued. The highschool volunteers assist the scholars with their homework, serve meals and lead actions.

Hernandez stated he typically hears highschool volunteers say how a lot they miss the Child’s Cafe program.

“I keep in mind one time, there was this gentleman who stopped by and he simply needed a plate of meals,” Hernandez stated, laughing. “However he stated ‘I used to return right here as a child and it saved me out of hassle.’ So it lets us know that it’s not simply an after-school program. It’s one thing that’s giving children a protected place for them to develop.”

Katherine Hernandez stated she hopes to have the ability to embody extra children in this system sooner or later and discover extra funding to supply higher provides and gear. However she stated her focus will proceed to be offering a protected place for the kids to have the ability to obtain their tutorial objectives.

“I don’t find out about you, however after I take into consideration my childhood, I keep in mind these occasions I’d spend with my associates and the way vital that was,” she stated. “And the way vital it’s for us to put money into youngsters as a result of we solely get one likelihood to get it proper with them. And no matter we do, nevertheless we could be a position mannequin for them or information them in the precise course (issues).”

Editor’s observe

Operation Christmas Cheer is a fundraising challenge, sponsored by The Herald, the Salvation Military and 1st Capital Financial institution, which helps native households that discover themselves in want this time of yr. Over time, it has raised greater than $2 million, which has been distributed to needy Monterey County households and people through the holidays. Donors are additionally allowed to have a personalised message revealed within the newspaper. To donate, mail the hooked up coupon or go to 1st Capital Financial institution, 300 Bonifacio Place, Monterey.

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Hallie Mitchell Dow & Household: In loving reminiscence of Brad Dow 1930-2022. We miss you, $1,000
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