By Anthony Volkar
Special to the Express
On Monday, Feb. 27, over 100 community members gathered at the Winters Community Center for the first “All In! for Children and Youth” session hosted by Yolo County and the Yolo County Office of Education (YCOE). The session served as an opportunity for the community to provide input on how Yolo County should spend $2.2M in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding designated for children and youth.
The session opened with remarks from the Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Lucas Frerichs, County Superintendent Garth Lewis, and Winters City Councilmember Jesse Loren.
“By being here tonight, you are part of our growing network of people working to ensure children, youth and families have current and accurate information about the services available in our community to help them to thrive,” said Frerichs. “Your participation matters because you understand what assets exist in Winters. That information is going to be used to address gaps and shortcomings in the system.”
“What if just by simply being born in Yolo County becomes an advantage for every child? This is the future for which we strive,” said Lewis. “Now is our opportunity to develop a lasting countywide plan for children, youth and families that will last for decades.”
Attendees then participated in an activity where they were presented with a detailed map of Supervisorial District 2, which includes Winters and portions of Davis. The map included a list of place-based locations and services which provide support to children, youth and families. Attendees were asked to confirm the list of provided assets and to discuss and note any services that are not provided within the community. For close to an hour, attendees reviewed the provided maps in small groups. Around tables, community members were seen pouring over the maps and placing sticky notes to note missing locations.
Winters Joint Unified School District Superintendent Rody Boonchouy attended and said, “This is an amazing opportunity for community members in Winters to identify resources that we need but might not currently exist. It’s like a large brainstorm of the opportunities and features we would like to see in our community.”
The Winters session was the first of five consecutive sessions hosted by the county and YCOE, with one in each Supervisorial district in Yolo County. Sessions were conducted in both English and Spanish.
The All In! for Children and Youth sessions were part of the countywide Roadmap to the Future initiative, a long-term plan to coordinate the services, supports and opportunities children, youth, and families in Yolo County need to thrive.
In January 2021, Yolo County was allocated $42.8M ARP funding by the federal government. In September 2021, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors set aside $5.5M of the county’s funding for children, youth, and families. In February 2022, the Board of Supervisors allocated funding to YCOE to oversee and lead the Roadmap to the Future.
In his comments, Lewis said, “The Roadmap to the Future initiative is a major investment in our community, and ultimately, our residents will be able to easily access all of the resources available in Yolo County that benefit kids and families.” The $2.2M ARP funding to allocate after the completion of the Roadmap to the Future in September.
The community will be invited to participate in a second round of community sessions in May, which will be focused on sharing the finding of the needs assessment. For more information, visit www.ycoe.org/roadmap.