Catholic Charities: Resilience and Service on the Frontlines

One crisis, the pandemic, turned into two on Sunday night when the dreaded emergency alerts started notifying Sonoma County residents to the fast-moving Glass Fire. Monday morning, we woke up to heavy ash and smoke. Under normal circumstances, we would close our Catholic Charities CYO Camp programs due to the proximity of the wildfire and unhealthy air. Instead, we made the decision to stay open for our community and had full attendance.

Once again during this pandemic, our CYO Camp staff used their resourcefulness. Early on, we pivoted quickly to serve the needs of our local community when COVID-19 shuttered our traditional programs. Our 215-acre redwood forest campus with a lake, stream, and miles of trails, large indoor spaces for schoolwork and social distancing, and undaunted, dedicated employees who were up for any challenge, made us well-suited to offer two COVID-19 safe programs to elementary and middle school children in grades 2-8 this fall: Distance Learning and Outdoor Enrichment. We are also offering an afternoon-only Outdoor Enrichment option for students in grades 1-8.

Our Catholic Charities CYO Camp programs are essential for the families and communities we serve. A CAL fire chief and a vice principal of a local elementary school whose children attend our COVID-19 enrichment programs rely on us so they can continue to perform their vital, essential work. As do the single-parent families and children of professionals whose jobs do not allow them the luxury of working from home.
Throughout this pandemic, our programs have re-focused to help local families deal with the many challenges of COVID-19 and other emergency needs of our community. We are proud to have the public and health departments’ trust that Catholic Charities will keep our community’s children safe, healthy, and engaged. We remain steadfast and laser-focused on making an impact in the face of the gravest challenges to our community. We have risen up in the face of a pandemic and destructive wildfires. We are Catholic Charities.

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