The Kiwanis Club of Conejo Valley has a long-standing relationship with the children and families of their community as a result of the Safe Passage program. Safe Passage is a partnership of organizations including Conejo Valley Kiwanis, Ventura County Sheriff’s Foundation, and Conejo Recreation and Park District to make communities safe by stopping gang recruitment and the replenishment process among at-risk youth. Through Safe Passage, hundreds of children receive much-needed free meals, tutoring, mentorship, and recreational activities.
The needs of these low-income children and their families only increased during COVID-19 as many parents became unemployed. To assist these parents with the essential childcare they needed as they looked for work, Conejo Valley Kiwanis used a Club Grant from the CNH Children’s Fund to help fund half-day recreation camps for Safe Passage during Summer 2020.
The club’s grant provided 40 children with scholarships to attend these recreation camps. From DIY costume contests and wacky science to arts and crafts and hikes, the children received much needed routine, structure, and fun activities during these challenging times.
Through these camps, the parents were free to look for work as their children were cared for by camp volunteers. Not only were the children cared for, but they were also supported and guided by their mentors. For instance, a very anxious child didn’t believe she could make it to the top of the hill during a hike. Not only did she make it with the encouragement of staff, but she led other children to the top of the hill the following week! “I did it!” said the little girl. And you did it, too, Conejo Kiwanis. Way to go!