Partnership For Children and Youth Visits Thriving Lion's Pride

Jul 29, 2014

by Jerico Paguio 

In June, Ryan Chao, Vice President of Civic Sites & Community Change at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Jennifer Hicks from the Partnership for Children and Youth (PCY) visited Lion Creek Crossings (LCC) to see the Lion’s Pride program in action. They saw the program’s famous walking school bus on its return trip from their East Bay Vivarium field trip at the Havenscourt Campus. Students held stop signs and stood on each side of the crosswalk as the rest of their class walked in pairs safely across. Both staff and students wore brightly colored vests. Michelle Sit, Afterschool Program Coordinator, led the front of the line as the driver while Joshua Simon, EBALDC’s Executive Director, managed the back of the bus.

The Lion’s Pride Program at LCC is part of a housing cohort through the Partnership for Children and Youth. The housing cohort trains affordable housing organizations on best practices for youth programs in housing developments throughout the Bay Area. Only in its second year as a cohort member, Lion’s Pride was assessed for the first time using the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) and received the highest rank of "Thriving."   Lion's Pride was selected as the model program for the site visit because of its high evaluation score.

After the students returned to their classrooms, Michelle led the group on a tour of the Family Resource Center where the program is housed.  Lion’s Pride has an after school and summer school component serving the community of Lion Creek Crossings nearly year-round. This summer their program is running parallel to the Summer Food Service Program schedule, and they will be serving free lunches for youth ages 17 and under.

Michelle noted that the program is at a unique advantage, “having an in-house after school program, you not only know the community but where the students live.” She adds "we can literally knock on their doors to check in with them or to inform them of an event and volunteer opportunities." The program mandates that parents volunteer at least 1 hour a month, helping students with homework, passing out flyers or at an event. The events draw 250-400 people and would not be possible without this community engagement, a best practice that will hopefully spread throughout the PCY cohort.