When schools closed in response to the pandemic, we responded by starting a new initiative to support students - virtual tutoring - and it reaped huge benefits for our youth and volunteers! That's why we've decided to continue the program for children in 1st through 8th grade, even though schools have re-opened. We select, train, and pair volunteer virtual tutors who meet one-on-one with students one to two times a week on Zoom. In collaboration with classroom teachers and parents, tutors and students prioritize academic areas of focus and create engaging times of learning.
During the school year, we open our doors to children from Franklin Elementary for our elementary after-school program. Harbor House staff pick the kids up from Franklin and walk them three blocks to Harbor House. We feed them a hearty supper and give them time to play outside before coming inside for Academic Hour and Enrichment Clubs. Interns from our Youth Leadership Program help lead the children through their activities and volunteers come to teach enrichment clubs.
Imagine a long journey of immigrating to the United States and then trying to find housing and employment without speaking English or knowing where to go for help. Newcomers to Oakland find a safe and welcoming space at Harbor House to learn English and form friendships. Our English as a Second Language class serves people from all over the world with varying levels of English skills. Our ESL classes will resume meeting in person in September 2021 after having a year of class on Zoom.
Our 2021 Summer Camp theme was Camp Mosaic and gave kids an opportunity to explore the beautiful mosaic of cultures in our neighborhood. Small pods of elementary, middle, and high school students had a blast learning about their own cultures and the cultures of others in their community. We sang songs, played games, created a quilt, enjoyed special guests and field trips, and discussed the parables of The Great Banquet and The Good Samaritan. The children's book Home is in Between, which explores what it's like to live between two cultures, set the tone for our camp and helped our kids to see their own stories in the pages of the book.