Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center (PYEC) director Anna Coleman recently received a call from Governor Ducey’s office congratulating her on being one of ten organizations statewide to receive an award from the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence. PYEC received $10,000 in recognition of their work during the coronavirus pandemic. The source of the money is the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund. By far the smallest organization recognized, PYEC competed successfully with big ones like the Boys and Girls Club in Phoenix.

While the Youth Center building is closed to youth during the pandemic, the programming has continued. As of May 20, the Coleman family has prepared 4,320 meals for youth and their families (and a few others) in the Center’s commercial kitchen. Staff is maintaining regular contact with youth by phone and social media.

PYEC’s summer camp program will go forward, but in a different way. Particpants will have challenges to complete at home, for example building projects, menu and food preparation, landscaping and restoration. To move to another challenge, the youth will have to complete the previous one and submit pictures of the process and the end result. The summer camp program is supported by a Patagonia Regional Community Foundation grant.

Another benefit of the statewide award is that PYEC is now on a list of nonprofits to be notified whenever potentially appropriate fund sources become available. Coleman has already received a call from a FEMA representative who linked her to an application to reimburse all PYEC’s food costs during the pandemic.