Children and youth with severe disabilities simply can’t be left alone as unsupervised “latch-key’ kids when they are not in school. That makes it extremely difficult for their parents to work:
• after the end of each school day
• when there is a teacher in-service day or school holiday
• during summer break
That’s why SOAR365 has year-round Children and Youth programs in both Richmond and Chesterfield, and that’s why we have extended hours when school is not in session. We are here for these students and families until high school graduation, which by law can be until they are 22 years old.
This isn’t babysitting! SOAR365 has a robust, year-round curriculum and well-trained professional staff that help develop each student’s social, behavioral, physical and cognitive skills.
• Students receive help with homework assignments.
• They work on life skills, such as personal hygiene, safety, shopping, cooking, and money management.
• They learn to explore and express themselves creatively through art, music and other interest-inspired classes.
• They are encouraged to interact and socialize with others, often through community activities like volunteering and cultural and sports-related experiences.
• They receive support to maintain health and wellness through regular exercise, nutrition counseling, and medication management.
• Students get help with job-readiness skills.
SOAR365 started its Children and Youth Day Program for school-age kids with disabilities in 2003. In 2018, 88 students were enrolled.
Why we need your help: Reimbursement rates don’t come close to covering the costs required to maintain a high-quality program. Only 40% of our costs are covered. That means that other resources are needed to fill the $7,000-a-year gap for every student enrolled in our Children and Youth Program.
3600 Saunders Ave Richmond Virginia 23227
Early Childhood Development
Primary Population Served
People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Seated in a semicircle of high schoolers, all of whom look casual and relaxed, is Nafeesah, 15, who has been part of SOAR365's Children and Youth program for about a year. It is clear she enjoys it. “She loves SOAR365,” says her mom Rose, adding her daughter doesn’t want to miss a day. In fact, when it snowed in Richmond and the organization was closed, Rose actually had to play the recorded message for Nafeesah to believe it. Coming to SOAR365 has boosted her teen’s self-esteem and independence. Rose said she used to have to help Nafeesah (whose family nickname is “FeeFee”) with tasks like dressing, but she now she can prepare and iron her own clothing, as well as help with the dishes and other household tasks. She loves cooking, a skill nurtured in SOAR365’s own kitchen. Overall, Rose said the year’s biggest change has been in her daughter’s self-esteem. For a girl who once hung her head, “FeeFee” is now thinking about her future, and holding her head high.