The Kingswood Youth Center (KYC) is an independent non-profit organization in Wolfeboro, NH, which offers free programs to 7-12th grade students in the seven Eastern Lakes Region towns comprising the Governor Wentworth Regional School District (GWRSD). Seventy to eighty percent of KYC participants are eligible for free or reduced school lunch. The Center’s mission is “to provide a safe and positive environment in which youth may grow, learn and develop important life skills critical to their success in the adult world.”
The KYC’s mission is achieved through a menu of four broad mainstay programs: the afterschool program, BTAS! (Beyond The After-School!) Programs, The Summer Program, and The Club 121 Individual Mentoring Program. In the daily after-school program, a free hot meal, and a variety of engaging educational, recreational, and creative activities is offered. BTAS! programs meet on evenings, weekends, and school vacations and consist of field trips, including recreational and community service opportunities and featured events such as trivia night and ‘escape room.’ The summer program consists of a full schedule of full-day field trips and center-based activities. In Club 121 (stands for ‘one-to-one,’) adult mentors work individually with middle school students on goal setting and the exploration of emergent interests and needs.
Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, the KYC has been working hard to serve teens and families in new ways. Through a weekly ‘care-package’ program, the KYC has distributed roughly 10,000 lbs. of food and supplies to local families since late March. These care packages include fresh meat and produce, frozen meals and vegetables, restaurant-prepared meals, toiletries and household essentials, pantry items, treats, and more. Each care package weighs roughly 50-60 lbs. Staff have remained connected with teens through weekly remote programs such as Bingo, trivia, and ‘at-home scavenger hunt.’ Each week staff members share a video message with the community. Students are encouraged to enter the KYC’s weekly contests for chances to win prizes.
The KYC forecasts an increased demand for these vital programs in the aftermath of the pandemic. Throughout the Pandemic and as public health threats subside, community members must grapple with the ongoing financial and emotional realities of the Pandemic. The KYC’s services will be vital in responding to teens’ and families’ social, emotional, and financial needs as we all move forward. Our community’s generosity and high regard for youth will make these challenges surmountable.
Zachary Porter, MS
Executive Director The Kingswood Youth Center www.thekyc.org (603) 569-5949