Reaching at-risk kids during the summer months

06/07/2016 03:17 PM

COVINGTON – For many inner city youth summer can be a very challenging time as some kids, who are home by themselves with no organized activity to keep them busy, wind up getting involved in potentially criminal activity that threatens their safety and in some cases their future.

With that in mind the Housing Authority of Covington has a couple of summer programs in place to keep youngsters busy during the summer months and give them experiences that can potentially pay off well into the future.

One activity is a summer camp which allows inner city youth to experience nature.

Jon Adkins, Program Manager at the Housing Authority of Covington, says that 20 children between the ages of 6 and 13 who live in the Housing Authority of Covington properties are selected to attend sessions at the YMCA Camp Ernst location in Boone County.

“We drop them off on a Sunday, and we don’t pick them up again until the following Saturday,” Adkins said. “During that week, they are having a great experience of meeting new people that they’ve never had the experience of meeting before out of their communities.

“Typically, in the summer camp opportunity, there are people there who are from other countries, so it’s a great opportunity for them to get to know other people, different races, different socioeconomic statuses, where they can learn transferable skills with communication, where they can get together and learn behavioral things so that can learn how to act in group settings and things of that nature.”

The camps are offered free of charge to the 20 children who are selected and are sent in two groups of 10.

Meanwhile for older kids, summer youth employment programs fostering work readiness and work experience have been offered since 2009, and over 100 kids have gone through the program.

“This program is an opportunity for kids, ages 16 to 20, to have an experience and work for us to get their first job,” Adkins said. “What we do is partner with different communities, non-profits, and for-profits, throughout the city of Covington and we ask them if they would be willing to open the door to some of our youth in the Housing Authority of Covington to work there and to learn some transferable skills that they can take with them throughout every job that they have in their future.”

The salaries are paid by the Housing Authority of Covington.

Adkins is hopeful in the future to offer both programs to even more youths in the future.

In an effort to help the families, an Adult Education program is offered which targets
high school drop outs with GED preparatory classes, facilitates; postsecondary advancement via academic and computer enrichment classes; and promotes
employment readiness through classes that promote personal responsibility, and links to job search services.


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