Prime Time Palm Beach County goes virtual

By Prime Time Palm Beach County

As online learning increases globally in response to school closures and COVID-19 disruptions, families, afterschool and summer programs need help more than ever. With the support of the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Prime Time Palm Beach County, an out-of-school time (OST) intermediary that connects afterschool and summer programs to a menu of resources and offerings to increase their overall quality, has adapted to the needs of the community. Prime Time redesigned its offerings so children can continue learning and afterschool and summer programs can continue their climb to high quality.  

Providing Virtual Activities

As schools closed in March, Prime Time transformed its in-person, expanded learning model to a virtual platform where families could choose from a menu of more than 2,000 fun and engaging resources and activities that could be done at home to continue learning. Of the families surveyed, 85 percent responded that the activities were fun and interesting. CBS12 News Reporter Kristen Chapman featured Prime Time’s offerings on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Click here to view the report of Prime Time's offerings

Here’s some of the positive feedback that Prime Time received about the activities:

“I thought it was a fantastic learning opportunity for the students and myself.  The instructor was very knowledgeable and engaging with students.  I would love to have this experience again.” – Afterschool Practitioner 

“Thank you for providing us with fun, educational, and interactive activities. Students enjoyed the class.” – Afterschool Practitioner 

“My grandson loves fishing. He watched the tackle box and hooks video twice.” – Grandparent 

In June, Prime Time began offering its free Virtual Summer Camp, where families and summer camps have access to a weekly schedule that includes hour-by-hour live and prerecorded activities provided by the Palm Beach Zoo, Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County and many more local organizations. Since June 1, Prime Time has had more than 4,500 visitors and approximately 9,500 views of its Virtual Summer Camp calendar.  

Every week, Digital Vibez holds a virtual dance tutorial live via Zoom titled Tik Tok Dance Unlimited, which has been a success with families and summer camps like Coleman Park Summer Camp in West Palm Beach. The camp’s director, Frank Verney, said:

“I have noticed that my summer camp sounded like a dance studio during the first week back. Seeing the children smiling, laughing, and having a great time during Digital Vibez lessons truly makes me happy as a camp director. Every time staff plays one of your lessons the kids get right up and get down. Thank you for being part of our camp and for being part of our success.” 

Girl blowing bubbles

Supporting Afterschool and Summer Camp Practitioners 

Amid COVID-19, afterschool programs across Palm Beach County shut their doors with some afterschool and summer camp practitioners losing their jobs. Prime Time continued the momentum of giving these professionals the tools they need to feel empowered to create safe, supportive and welcoming environments, and to encourage positive social interactions with youth whether this was in-person or virtual. Prime Time began offering stipends to afterschool practitioners who are not currently working due to COVID-19 after every completed three-hour training. More than 700 afterschool and summer camp practitioners have attended Prime Time’s virtual trainings and more than 400 stipends have been issued. 

Here’s what two of those practitioners had to say about the trainings:

 “I really enjoyed this activity and learned a lot from it. It makes you think about your actions and the consequences. It also makes you think that the student has a reason why they may be acting out and it is important that you figure that out before you react.” – Toni Ferrara, afterschool practitioner on lessons learned via virtual training: Reframing Behavior Management on June 10, 2020.  

"These training have helped me learn what the Prime Time program is all about, and what it has to offer. Before taking these sessions, I had only heard bits and pieces, but nothing like having the opportunity to become self-aware for themselves. These training brought a wealth of information, as well as various shared activities that I can implement within our program. Being a part of these trainings with other colleagues and hearing how their programs are operating, sharing the things they have dealt with, and how they handled the situations, was definitely food for thought, and things that I could certainly glean from that will be impactful within our program.

I eagerly await the opportunity of being back in our facility, and implementing some the knowledge I have I have gained from these trainings, not only with our students, but staff as well.

I personally would like to say kudos and hats-off to the entire staff at Prime Time, each one in their respective roles. I understand why they are a part of this great organization. From my point of view, it is very evident that they are certainly a group of professionals that love what they do. The trainers are multi-talented and versed in their areas of expertise. Their personalities are ALWAYS so warm and pleasant as we worked through the training sessions from both sides of the table. They pulled things out of us that helped us to discover and acknowledge things about ourselves that we probably would not have thought of. I gathered a genuine consensus from all of them as it relates to both them and us as the trainees, that we could be top-notch professionals like themselves. For me, they were truly inspirational during the training sessions.” – Anecia Wilson, afterschool practitioner and training attendee

Children in virtual classroom session playing with bubbles

Supporting Summer Camp Programs 

Beginning in June, Prime Time’s quality advisors began working one-on-one with summer camps and early child care facilities to help with the transition from in-person to virtual offerings. Programs are provided resources, customized activities and assistance in a virtual setting. 

Prime Time’s support of summer camp programs has made a difference: 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Urban Youth Impact began virtual accommodations for students in our OST program using Google Classroom. Virtual interactions allowed team leaders to spend time with their class while at a distance. We saw growth in one specific student who through virtual learning was able to interact with new students that she normally would not have had the chance to interact with at The Leadership Academy. Virtual out-of-school time learning also helped break up her day and gave her something exciting to look forward to after her virtual school work was complete.  Team leaders and students overall made virtual learning a great experience and they made the best out of a tough situation. It was great to see the staff and students benefit from a last-minute innovation!

Several parents, particularly those of middle school-aged boys were very happy to have their children engaging and involved with constructive activities in out-of-school time. They played games, learned about God, watched learning videos, received help with their classwork and much more.”  – Michelle Rasmussen, director of academic services, Urban Youth Impact

“It’s been a pleasure to teach summer activities online to students throughout our community.  I really enjoy seeing those smiling faces through my computer screen every week and I know we have built some great relationships. This has been a great summer of fun, interactive learning for our students and for me as well!!” – Courtney Hindes, afterschool director

Girl blowing bubbles through straw

Supporting the Field and Community 

With more than 1,400 YouTube views in total, Prime Time’s virtual on-demand Seven Day Self-Care Challenge was offered to provide basic practice tools that can help our community cultivate awareness, self-care and resilience, particularly during challenging times amid COVID-19. The Seven-Day Self-Care Challenge includes seven pre-recorded video sessions that guides viewers step-by-step through mindful awareness practices, movement and breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques that promote stress and anxiety reduction and overall well-being. 

About Healthy, Safe, Strong Stories

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County continues to serve local children and families with the same mission that’s motivated us since 1986: to keep our county’s children healthy, safe and strong. This #HealthySafeStrong series highlights the vital work our providers are doing, and reminds Palm Beach County families that Children’s Services Council is here for you. To contact Children’s Services Council, please click here.