The Youth Enrichment Spring Kickoff gave an opportunity for kids to go outside and participate in activities such as basketball, dancing, and canvas painting on Saturday, March 20 after a year of limited in-person gatherings.
The event was made possible through the combined efforts of local community groups, Long Beach City Resources, Urban Reset, Briq Community, The CRayProject and Urban Society Long Beach.
With the success of their month-long fundraiser, the event hosted a surplus of kids and families, more than the amount who RSVP’d online.
See related story: “Local community organizations fundraise to support youth enrichment event in March”
“I think it’s amazing, I think the families that came through really enjoyed it,” Long Beach Resources Founder Chelsie Nicholson said.
The event took place at Deforest Park in North Long Beach from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Community members were welcomed near the baseball fields for a day of music, food, and goodie bags.
Kids were able to move to the beat with The CRayProject’s dancer Ronnie Southerland teaching them the steps to a TikTok mashup while others created colorful canvas paintings to dry out in the sun with ART REALM.
While practicing social-distancing and wearing masks, kids had the opportunity to create their own green slime with Erik Elsatd from the Shared Science booth.
“It’s fun, they’re having fun. I can not wait for them to go to sleep though. That’s going to be my favorite part, the car ride home. Very silent,” Brittney Moore, a mother at the event said.
Moore brought her daughter, niece, and her best friend’s son to enjoy the activities.
This was the second in-person event held by Long Beach Resources for the community following a Christmas toy-drive last year. As COVID-19 restrictions begin to loosen up, the group organizers hope to host similar events for the community in the future.
With the success of this event, they are considering turning it into an annual occasion.
After a year of quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic, parents and kids have felt restless while stuck indoors.
“It almost felt like we were on punishment,” Teona Williams said.
Williams attended the event with her daughter, her two sons, and her two nephews. She talked about the importance of kids participating in activities and how she noticed her kids’ lack of interest in going out after the pandemic abruptly shut down socially active activities they participated in such as jujitsu and track.
“We want to make sure that they’re able to get out, be active, be around other people, because then there’s a lot of diversity. Then you can also see how they interact with other children, it stimulates their whole brain, their mind, it keeps them going,” Williams said. “I feel like they’ve been limited on activity and how do you get back and start with that.”
Lisa Reth, another mother at the event, said there was a lot of anxiety among her family when the pandemic first began, with her kids having a lot of questions. She found that the best way to communicate the current health crisis was by telling the truth and being honest with them.
“So now when we tell them, ‘you can’t go to [the] movie theaters because of COVID,’ they’re like, ‘OK.’ They don’t fuss, but they’re anxious to get out,” Reth said.