Rockford organizations unite to minimize impact of pandemic on area kids

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockford area health advocacy group asked for support from the park district and other local organizations to help at-risk kids in the community.

The pandemic has negatively impacted kids in many aspects of their lives. In response, the Rockford Regional Health Council presented a way for the park district, YMCA and Boys and Girls Club to partner to help all aspects of health and wellness for kids in the community.

“It’s really connecting community and systems impacting systems,” said Becky Kendall, Executive Director of the Rockford Regional Health Council.

Kendall called on local organizations to help reduce the impact the pandemic has had on kids and families.

“How can we link together, support one another, but also be sensitive and passionate about what is happening in Rockford, Illinois or Winnebago County,” Kendall said.

They are looking beyond a typical checkup at the doctors office.

“We got that call that we had to shutdown our facilities, our community centers, had to take the rims off the basketball hoops, we couldn’t let kids play on the playground, and what happened when that call came…juvenile crime rose 100%, kids fell behind in their socialization,” said Jay Sandine, Executive Director of the Rockford Park District. “We have a crisis on our hands with our kids and it’s an all hands on deck. It’s bigger than any school system, and it’s really all of our responsibility to come in and help educate kids and get them on a path to success. We’re working with the health council, the Y, the Boys and Girls Club and our friends at the school district to find ways that we can help extend days, help inside the classrooms, help during summertime, just expand opportunities for our children.”

Kendall sees the partnership between the organizations as a way to attack issues in the community at full force.

“We’ve taken an opportunity during this COVID time to look at ourselves and see where are the opportunities for us to work together, but enhance the quality of life in our community,” Kendall said.

No firm plans have been made yet, as the Health Council is still in the planning phase.

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