HANNIBAL | Kids in Motion members have maintained a busy schedule this summer, with youth in Hannibal and Bowling Green joining together online to perform weekly challenges and service projects in their neighborhoods with an emphasis on safety during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
The current circumstances surrounding the virus halted in-person gatherings for KIM — a program of Douglass Community Services and United Way recipient — but the spirit of youth building social skills, displaying their work ethic and showing compassion to fellow members of the community is as apparent as ever, Youth Services Director Jared Moore said. Moore and Pike County KIM Director Amy Becker have coordinated to come up with weekly challenges and check-ins online, like the “Getting To Know You” challenge, which involved participants visiting with someone over the age of 50, asking them questions and sharing their results on Facebook.
“It gave them the opportunity to ask some of those interesting questions about their life that wouldn't just pop up in normal conversation,” Moore said, noting the students had “some eyeopening moments” as they discovered new information about their family members.
KIM kids performed a variety of compassionate acts, picking up trash in their neighborhoods and putting change in washing machines, soda machines and at car washes for the “Pass it On” weekly challenge.
“We still wanted them to be engaged with their neighborhoods and community, but doing it in safe and responsible ways,” Moore said.
One of his favorite challenges was the Nursing Home Outreach project. KIM participants drew pictures, wrote letters, and made items to lift the spirits up for residents of Country View Nursing Facility in Bowling Green — the pandemic changed KIM's usual plans of visiting nursing homes in person, and residential care facility residents haven't been able to see visitors since the pandemic began. Trina Hammett, activity director with Country View Nursing Facility in Bowling Green, said the gifts from KIM youth made a positive impact on residents.
“It's been wonderful. They really look forward to that — just getting something in the mail or anything like that —with them not being able to have visitors and see their families up close or hug them, that really means a lot to them,” Hammett said. “They really appreciate that, and those kids have been wonderful.”
The weekly challenges and online weekly checkins are incentivized with weekly drawings for a $50 gift card for members who complete the Weekly Challenge and post the results on Facebook. During weekly check-ins, participants also have the chance to receive a $50 gift card.
“We wanted our kids to understand that they have a role to play in caring for their community,” Moore said.
He and Becker explained the impact their service projects made for their neighbors and loved ones. Looking ahead, Moore is excited to resume the second year of after-school meetings when classes start at Hannibal Middle School. Moore said the community has offered strong support.
“We're looking forward to working with the school district on what that looks like to still be able to have the impact on the students on a little more regular basis during the school year, to help prepare them for the future and to help them be equipped to build a better future going forward,” Moore said.
More information about Kids in Motion is available by calling Douglass Community Services at 573-221-3892 or visiting the Facebook page for Kids in Motion/Teens in Motion — a Program Of Douglass Community Services.