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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Kenmore Non-Profit Continues Programming, Meal Deliveries Amid Coronavirus Pandemic and Some Looming Bills

Kabir Bhatia
First Glance in Kenmore provides services for at-risk youth, teen Moms, and pre-K students. But many programs are on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic -- and because the building needs a new fire suppression system and repair work on the roof.

An Akron nonprofit is struggling to serve the public while facing some big bills and the coronavirus pandemic.

Like many nonprofits in Ohio, First Glance – a youth center in Kenmore -- has had to radically alter operations since last March. Before the pandemic, they offered programs to help young people including at-risk youth, pre-K students, and teen Moms.

Executive Director Jessica Swiger says they’ve been able to offer some programming, but with fewer kids to maintain social distance. One example is a partnership with nearby Pfeiffer Elementary.

“The biggest concern of the principal [was] saying ‘these kids aren’t getting online when they need to do their school.’ So, we provide internet and provide mentors and tutors that can help them with their schooling,” Swiger said.

But much of their resources are now directed outside the building, delivering meals and toys to the neighborhood – partly for social distancing, and partly because the fire department says the building’s fire suppression system needs to be replaced – a $30,000 investment at a time when the financial picture for nonprofits is uncertain.

According to wwiger, “We’re 55 percent funded by individuals. We also receive a lot of grants from generous foundations in Akron. But a lot of these foundations are switching to COVID relief – but they’re not funding very many capital campaigns right now.”

Swiger invites anyone interested in helping out to contact her here or at jessica@firstglance.org.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.