Dear New York, We’re Still Here

One year later. It has been a full year since our lives were turned upside down and COVID-19 shut down our city. One full year since we closed our office, transitioned to remote work, and completely reshaped what we do as an organization. They said we’re all leaving, but we’re still here. This is the final video in our ‘Dear New York’ series. We’re still here, we’re still playing, and we’re building back stronger, together. 

Our Impact Journey

Since we entered lockdown last March, almost everything that we do as an organization has adjusted, adapted, and evolved with the ongoing challenges 2020 presented. When we sat down to think about how we wanted to present our impact this year — the only way that felt natural was to take you through our 2020 journey — starting at the beginning.

Read Our Full Impact Report

A Few Highlights

Transition to Virtual Looking back on 2020, we have to ask ourselves the age old question, “Where were you when?” Well, where were we when New York City shut down last March? Our team had been keeping an eye on COVID-19, and we were already anticipating that virtual learning and new programs were on the horizon. That anticipation became a reality, and we spent 1077 hours on Zoom, hosted 598 virtual classes with over 225 unique kids. And we only had to troubleshoot Zoom for 16.5 hours! We call that a success!

Our Summer As NYC began to reopen, so did we! In a whirlwind of events both internally at Kids in the Game and globally, we faced many challenges and triumphs. A couple of highlights include: We received a significant donation from the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation and Degree and launched ‘The Real MVP Fund’ — a new scholarship program for single moms and their families. Our team came back together and decided to run 4 summer camps for over 500 kids! We are proud to have had our staff members, participants, and families vocally and publicly stand up for justice in 2020.

Return to School After a successful summer, our team was ready to transition to the fall. However, if 2020 taught us anything, we knew that no matter how prepared we were — there were plenty of twists and turns to come! 

Will schools open or not?! We had to be prepared either way. We were able to expand our reach to even more families via a brand new program, our Remote Learning Centers. By providing a safe and focused environment, families were able to have a peace of mind that their kids’ education and school year wasn’t going to be hindered by the effects the pandemic inevitably had on schools.

In our RLC’s, we provide Zoom time, assistance with school work, and of course, time for play! Our kids were able to pick up where they left off without missing a moment of fun.

Election Day Matters In 2020, many of us felt that it mattered more than ever. Without having time off from work, this can inhibit many families from getting out to vote and fulfilling their civic responsibilities. On Election Day, Kids in the Game provided 30 free spots at our Remote Learning Centers for kids to come and do some work and get moving while their families were able to take a moment to go vote. Our voice matters, especially when we are thinking of the next generation!

The KING Sports Comeback KING Sports made their comeback through basketball, soccer, and track — all outdoors of course. 9 teams, 72 runners, and over 100 sessions later, we all remembered why we love sports just as much as we do.

Our Hopes for 2021

Continue to strengthen our progress in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

1. Continue to strengthen our progress in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

This year we took a deep look at our organization internally and began the process of educating ourselves. This included personal self reflection, organizational processes and the kind of environment we as a team create for one another. In 2021, we will begin intentionally shifting the lessons we’ve learned from our internal processes directly to our program design. We are dedicated to diverse hiring practices, providing programs for all kids regardless of what neighborhood they live in, and narrowing the gender gap in our programs. We are also committed to promoting the youth voice as we launch our first ever Youth Leadership Council. Together, we can create a more equitable and inclusive New York City.

 Keep the connection healthy.

2. Keep the connection healthy.

While schools, sports and all social gatherings were forced online in 2020, we are more dedicated than ever to keep the positive connection we have with our participants alive. As an organization that prides itself on program quality, we refuse to lower our standards for online learning.

Although Zoom is not the same as being in person, we are choosing to see the heightened use of technology in a positive light. In particular, the past 4 years have taught us about the power of social media and its ability to unite and divide us. We are choosing to remain united through technology by connecting with kids in every corner of New York City, assisting in virtual school and keeping kids moving through high energy online classes. In 2021, we will continue to use this momentum as we explore the intersection between technology and sports to keep pushing our industry forward in a healthy way.

Help our youth heal from the impacts of COVID-19.

3. Help our youth heal from the impacts of COVID-19.

Our hope for 2021 is that as a country and as people we will be able to safely return to normalcy. We are dedicated and committed to being there every step of the way as our kid’s reintegrate through positive social interaction, physical play and in-person programs. We understand that there will be challenges, both physical and mental, even during a healthy transition. We will provide a safe space for reflection, and we promise not to underestimate the toll 2020 has had, but to use the lessons we have learned to grow stronger in 2021.

A key theme for Kids in the Game in 2021 is recovery through socialization. We have an opportunity this year to be an outlet and source of healing in response to the complicated issues that 2020 created for our kids. My hope is that we can create safe, inclusive programs for youth to return to a sense of normalcy through sports that we sorely missed last year.

Matt Murphy, CEO

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