GLIDE means so much to so many people in need: a free meal or legal advice; HIV/Hep C testing and treatment; access to temporary or permanent housing; a warm embrace, or nurturing of the soul with hope and joy at Sunday Celebration. A lesser-known but equally vital program among GLIDE’s myriad offerings is the Janice Mirikitani Family, Youth and Childcare Center (FYCC) which offers afterschool and summer care for K–5 students as well as licensed childcare for toddlers. Not only do the children benefit from participating in wonderfully diverse, multilingual literacy, arts and wellness programs—all shepherded by a cadre of caring teachers dedicated to the highest-quality programs—but in addition, their parents and guardians are able to hold full-time jobs or attend school themselves while knowing that their children are safe and secure among supportive peers and educators at FYCC.
One of our FYCC parents is Wilma Bolio, who arrived in San Francisco from Yucatan, Mexico in 2003, divorced and pregnant with her first child. Now a mother of four, Wilma’s brood of adorable sons and daughters have all benefitted from FYCC programming. “It gives me peace of mind knowing that my kids are safe when I drop them off at FYCC, where they are so well taken care of and given great chances in life,” Wilma glows. “I am so happy and grateful to GLIDE for supporting me and my family for so many years.”
Occasionally, Wilma and her children enjoy meals in GLIDE’s dining room, where they feel like members of a larger family and loving community. Wilma’s favorite GLIDE event by far is the annual Grocery Bag Giveaway, which provides all the fixings for a tasty, nutritious and festive holiday meal with her kids. While GLIDE’s free meals provide much-needed sustenance, FYCC offers equally crucial opportunities for Wilma and her family to flourish. With her children safely ensconced in FYCC’s bright, cheerful classrooms, chockablock art studios and nap-friendly quiet spaces, Wilma is able to focus on her job, thus earning money and gaining stability for them all. At day’s end, the Bolios gather together at home, where the children study their Spanish and Wilma practices English. “I love talking with my kids in the evenings about what they are working on in school, about their friends, and how the programs and teachers at FYCC help them so much with their homework,” Wilma says with a smile. “GLIDE truly has been a saving grace to my little family.”