Kid Link Riverside volunteers aren’t letting COVID-19 social distancing restrictions stand in the way of this important initiative in Sioux Falls.
As are many businesses and organizations during this time, Sioux Falls Thrive Action Teams are meeting using online tools. In a few short weeks of action, the Kid Link Riverside Initiative targeted these goals:
- Formed its Leadership Team. The first nine members represent the Sioux Falls Thrive Food Security Action Team, Laura B. Anderson Elementary School staff, and organizations committed to the neighborhood including the City of Sioux Falls, Oak Hills Baptist Church, and the business community. Three more seats on the team are reserved for parents of children at Laura B. Anderson Elementary School.
- Envisioned a series of work groups. Known as Task Teams, committed volunteer members of the first two groups will guide collaboration for family programs this summer and a weekly meal proposed to begin this fall. Future Task Teams will come together as needs arise, including a collaboration with after school and food distribution organizations.
Following two convening sessions in January and February, Sioux Falls Thrive has facilitated bi-weekly meetings of volunteers representing organizations committed to supporting the needs of children and families in Riverside. More than 70 individuals are poised to step into the initiative as their expertise or skills are needed.
Core initiative members so far represent these local organizations:
- Augustana University
- City of Sioux Falls
- Dakota Rural Action
- Faith Temple Food Giveaway
- Feeding South Dakota
- First United Methodist Church
- Grand Prairie Foods
- Health Connect of South Dakota
- Minnehaha County Human Services
- Oak Hills Baptist Church
- Salvation Army
- Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church
- Sioux Falls Public Schools
- Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation
- Siouxland Libraries
- SDSU Extension
- Wesley Methodist Church
Why did Thrive choose Riverside for Kid Link?
Funded by a generous donor, Kid Link is the demonstration of a neighborhood approach to collaboration among available services. The goal is to provide immediate benefits for school-age children. Over the next three years, Kid Link will realign community resources to better serve children and their families in Riverside and two additional neighborhoods.
Potential neighborhoods were chosen based on the report titled Food Security & Food Systems in Sioux Falls, SD December 2018. The Food Security Action Team compiled data to show the neighborhoods surrounding three Title I schools in terms of food security indicators.
Using that data, the Food Security Action Team chose the Laura B. Anderson Elementary School attendance area based on several observations, including:
- Limited accessibility to charitable food sources
- More than 20% of residents eligible for SNAP (food stamp) benefits
- Population diversity
- Highest percentage of families without access to transportation
- 82% free and reduced lunch eligibility
Kid Link goals
- Identify needs and wants of LBA families
- Form an engagement collaborative charged with addressing needs using existing resources
- Implement changes
- Measure the change in student performance