During the 2020 Holiday giving campaign with Daymaker, donors gave generously to children supported by local nonprofits across the country.
The Daymaker team has met with our partners this spring, collecting input and feedback on how we can improve in the future. Below we are thrilled to share an update from Agape Youth & Family Center, Atlanta, highlighting how the year has progressed for the families they serve and how the Daymaker campaign has impacted their service delivery:
Agape Youth & Family Center has been a staple in the Northwest community of Atlanta, Georgia for decades, growing from a need to support children facing systemic poverty and provide food, homework assistance and a safe and nurturing environment to enjoy after school. Since 2009, high school seniors enrolled at Agape have had a 98% graduation rate and have typically participated in the program for seven years. Today, Agape continues to empower and support underserved families within its community to discover, embrace, and achieve their full potential. Although, how they execute on that mission has transformed many times over, as they adapt to changes in community demographics, poverty levels, and of course, the global coronavirus pandemic.
Agape’s largely Latinx student population of over 250 children has especially been impacted by the pandemic. Existing financial strains were often exasperated by familial income loss and illness, increasing barriers to education through lack of technology and the intimate distraction of hunger. Agape’s Director of Programs, Marlon Montgomery, recalls one student who was especially suffering. A child who, at the height of the pandemic, faced food insecurity while sharing his small home with as many as twelve other family members and neighbors combined. Montgomery shared, “[He] wasn’t completing homework or logging into classes, and it was probably safe to say that his environment was draining his enthusiasm away. Not only did returning to in-person support at Agape help with his joy but meeting him at the door with some of our Daymaker gifts (I think he has both the Eat the Rainbow and Shake it Up Kits) added a layer of excitement and fun.”
As community needs intensified, Agape once again pivoted and reopened its facilities – expanding it’s after school services to include all day access and support. Children are picked up from their homes by bus and enjoy remote learning from modernized school- and age-specific classrooms. Students are fed three meals a day, have access to arts, computer labs, a large gym, and tutoring from Agape’s largely bilingual staff members. Literacy has always been a pillar of Agape’s programming, and their students – like many others throughout the United States – have needed extra help to return to reading at or above grade level.
When students felt unseen, receiving Daymaker holiday and monthly discovery bundles and farm-to-home kits were a wonderful reminder that they were still being thought of. Coupled with diving back into college readiness programs, the return of summer camps, and the opportunity to regularly see their friends, students at Agape are once again experiencing joy.
When students felt unseen, receiving Daymaker holiday and monthly discovery bundles and farm-to-home kits were a wonderful reminder that they were still being thought of.“Thank you for continuing to produce joy for students who have many barriers to finding smiles. We live for sparking this joy here at Agape, and what you do through Daymaker only enhances who we are and creates yet another extension to our goal of helping students discover, embrace, and achieve their full potential.” Montgomery adds, “I hope our kids gain appreciation for the little things and also experience something new through the gifts from Daymaker partners. I also hope they are inspired to become gift-givers that give through a lens of social responsibility and social awareness. Thank you from the bottom of our heart!”
All people, especially children, need play for intellectual and socio-emotional growth, as well as identity development and cultural awareness. Together, we can address this critical need that is often de-prioritized or overlooked due to the urgency of physiological needs such as food and shelter.
We are grateful to be in the position to spark and extend joy for our nonprofit partners and their communities, and we are grateful for your contributions and collaboration in this work!
To learn about Agape Youth & Family Center and how they are impacting the lives of children in Atlanta thought character development, academic achievement, reading proficiency, visit their website.