By Rebecca Carlin, executive director
This year has been about finding balance. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted our reality. It changed the way we operated in our daily lives. Through different stages, new guidance, changing school policies and new treatments for the illness, things continued to shift. Wisconsin Youth Company had to find balance in a changing reality. To maintain a level stance, we chose a focal point: We focused on the fundamentals of our work, caring for children, families, and staff to balance ourselves in the changing world.
As schools re-opened for the 2021-2022 School Year, Wisconsin Youth Company opened all of its After School programs for the first time since March 2020. With the Child Care Counts monthly payments and Beyond the Classroom grant of slightly more than $1 million, we were ready to hire new staff and provide tuition assistance for families who faced economic challenges through the pandemic.
We faced new COVID challenges as cases spiked and we managed contact tracing and public health reporting for the highest number of positive cases we had seen through the entire pandemic. We managed changing guidance on best COVID practices as each of the seven school districts in which we operate programs created their own COVID policies.
We faced staffing challenges as the great resignation swept the country and many industries raised pay rates to attract workers. After years of difficult and risky in-person work through the pandemic, we experienced staff burnout and saw talented staff leave the field of childcare.
Each time reality shifted, we found our balance.
We focused on the fundamentals:
- Caring for children and being positive adult role models.
- Helping families by providing the care they need at a cost they
- Supporting staff by raising pay rates, offering new benefits, and
working hard to maintain our positive culture of caring in the
This year, we found our balance. We solidified the foundation of what is important
in our organization. Our team is strong. And we are ready to continue the work into