To say that 2020 was a challenging year is an understatement. Just like most people and businesses, here at Root for Kids we had to get creative (and very virtual/remote) to keep going! We continued to serve hundreds of families during the pandemic and thankfully had the support of amazing people in the community. Check out our top 10 moments of 2020!
Every December, Mix 103.1, Coyote Country 102.9, Kool 98.9 and Zion 104.1 come to Root for Kids and broadcast live from our lobby during the annual Radiothon, volunteers join us for special projects, donors come in to take pictures with their donations and tour the building… except in 2020. With social distancing and safety concerns in mind, the traditional Radiothon turned into a drive-thru! The radio stations broadcasted from their studio and people from all over town drove by to drop off donations and their change. Online and Venmo donations were extremely popular too, and we were able to raise over $20,000 in one day!
The Secret Garden Gala: Home Edition
The annual gala quickly became a favorite event at Root for Kids. We were excited to make The Secret Garden Gala bigger and better in 2020, but again we had to adapt. The Secret Garden Gala: Home Edition took place on Saturday, September 12, 2020 with the support of 18 sponsors and 132 guests who joined us online from Washington County, Salt Lake City and Idaho. Between sponsorships, ticket sales, auction and monetary donations the unprecedented virtual event raised $68,128, exceeding our $60,000 goal! We broadcasted live from Root for Kids and guests joined us via Zoom. All guests received gift cards to purchase dinner and party hosts also received a centerpiece to bring the magic of the gala into their home.
Virtual Home Visits
All families enrolled in Early Head Start, Early Intervention and Parents as Teachers receive weekly, bi-weekly or monthly home visits, depending on the child’s needs. Starting in March 2020, the visits moved online in order to keep the families and our staff safe. It was definitely challenging to get the ball rolling, but it was so important to keep providing services. We even did Speech Therapy sessions online!
Food and Diaper Deliveries
More than ever the families we serve benefited from receiving diaper bundles and food boxes from the Utah Food Bank. Typically, the families would come to the center once a month to pick up their food box but in the interest of avoiding crowds, the home visitors delivered the boxes every month at their door step.
It’s humbling to think about how many people and businesses were willing to give and support young kids in our community in 2020. When COVID-19 hit, we weren’t sure what to expect but our donors showed up and helped us keep providing services. We are so lucky to be part of such a giving community!
It’s always inspiring when people donate their time to our organization. Our volunteers didn’t hesitate about the changes and were happy to take projects with them when needed! They helped put together the block puzzles our little graduates receive, doing activity kits for the children and bundling diapers.
It’s so fun to celebrate the little kids aging out and graduating from Root for Kids programs! We usually invite them with their families to celebrate with dinner and a graduation ceremony. Last year, the home visitors delivered a “graduation kit” for each child with a graduation hat, their diploma, block puzzle and other donated gifts.
One Utah Child Care
The Caterpillar Clubhouse was one of the few childcare centers that remained open in our area. We realized it was an essential service to provide for the parents who weren’t able to work remotely. In addition to the regular 0-5 classrooms, we partnered up with One Utah Child Care program to provide free childcare for first responders families.
It seems like forever ago that we all could get together in an indoor venue for a concert. But before quarantine, we had the pleasure to welcome Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night at the Cox Auditorium for an amazing concert! The event was generously presented by The American Dream Foundation and all ticket sales proceeds benefited Root for Kids.
With a lot of coordination and creativity, our Health Services team was able to resume free health clinics for clients in July 2020. Families were assigned time slots with plenty of time between appointments for proper sanitizing. Services provided included vision and hearing screenings, blood lead and hematocrit tests, and fluoride.
We are grateful for everyone that made 2020 a little lighter and brighter at Root for Kids! Thank you for your support. To keep helping young kids have the best start in life, donate here.