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Olivet announces “Hubs of Hope” to serve Youth in Reading and Berks

Olivet announces “Hubs of Hope” to serve Youth in Reading and Berks

READING & BERKS, PA-The Olivet Boys & Girls Club held a special in-person press conference on Thursday June 24th at the Pendora Club (330 S. 19th Street) to officially announce the “Hubs of Hope” initiative.

In addition to economic challenges for families, the COVID-19 pandemic has created academic challenges and mental health issues for students across the country. Olivet is well aware of the struggles that youth and families are facing in the local community. With the assistance of community partners, Olivet has always strived to serve as a community safety net to provide a wide range of programs and services to youth and families. However, due to the ongoing issues created by the pandemic, it is important now more than ever to continue to strengthen and build new community partnerships to provide holistic support to youth, especially those that need us the most.

As an organization that serves youth across Berks County, and has established partnerships with school districts and various, local businesses and organizations, the organization saw a unique opportunity to transition their clubs to serve as community resource hubs or otherwise known as “Hubs of Hope.” One of the first steps in this endeavor is to create “care closets” at each club site, with the first “care closet” recently being established at the Pendora Club. These “care closets” consist of basic need items such as food, toiletries, clothing, and feminine hygiene products. The concept is that club members and can enter the closet, no questions asked, and take items that they need or may be needed for other family members. School district liaisons, community organizations, and social service agencies can also refer youth to Olivet to access the care closets are become club members at no cost to access other programs and services offered by Olivet.

The Hubs of Hope will serve as a multi-faceted referral system. School district liaisons and community organizations can refer youth in need to Olivet who can become club members at no cost and access the care closet, mental health services, academic support, and other programs and services. In turn, through these partnerships, already established Olivet members and families will then have a pathway to access community services if they are in need.

“There are over 80,000 youth in Berks County. It is imperative that schools and organizations build strong connections in order to create a community-wide safety net for the youth that need us the most.  The creation of the “Hubs of Hope” will allow us to expand and enhance local partnerships and outreach to more youth that can benefit from our programs and services to achieve bright futures,” said Chris Winters, President and CEO, Olivet Boys & Girls Club.

Funds to create the care closets and “Hubs of Hope” initiative were generously provided by Customer’s Bank, the United Way, Chick Fil A foundation, Berks County Community Foundation, Visions Federal Credit Union, and Giant. Donations of items for the care closet were provided by local companies/organizations including Reading Pediatrics and Boscovs. Volunteer groups that helped in sorting/organizing the care closet included: VoiceUP and MidPenn Bank.