In moments of great adversity, we’re drawn back to the heart of things. Through the pandemic, I’ve been reminded that at its core, The GreenHouse is not a service provider, but a community. Don’t get me wrong – we provide a rich variety of programs for youth and families. But at the core, The GreenHouse is a community of people that love God and passionately want the best for our youth. Everything flows from that.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, The GreenHouse community has been living out that love for youth and families in innovative new ways. We are focusing in three critical areas:
- Individualized academic support. We meet with youth in our programs one to three times per week, according to their academic needs. We work with some kids online, and others in person - whatever works best for the child and family in this unusual time!
- Supporting the home/school connection. As families function as “home base” to the educational process during school closures, it's more important than ever that parents, schools, and after-school work together closely. We partner intensively with both parents and schools, often serving as a liaison to support them in communicating with each other. We support families around issues of attendance, technology, translation, and navigating the K-12 school system.
Strong Relationships with God and each other
- Connecting with each other. Healthy relationships anchor us and reduce the impact of trauma in people's lives. GreenHouse staff are in close touch with kids, teens, and parents each week, providing personal connection and ongoing relational support.
- Connecting with God. Youth are growing in relationship with God through prayer, Scripture study and sharing in our biweekly youth groups. We're in regular conversation with parents about their needs and prayer requests.
Mental Wellness Supports
- Access to nature. Spending times outdoors is a critical part of mental well-being. Through the pandemic, The GreenHouse Educational Garden has served an outdoor classroom and playground where kids and dig, plant, weed, harvest, have water fights, observe bugs, and get to be kids. GreenHouse youth spend time in the garden on a weekly basis.
- Creative outlets. Creativity and personal expression is a well-documented support to mental wellness. Youth in GreenHouse programs participate in weekly workshops, both in person and online, that provide opportunities for them to paint, draw, experiment, and create.
As schools reopen this spring, The GreenHouse is walking alongside youth and families in the transition. Whatever the "new normal" of post-pandemic life will be, we plan to be there, offering a safety net of emotional, spiritual, academic, and physical support. We are honored to be part of this community and amazed by the resilience, strength, and mutual support of the families we accompany!