Dear ROYA stakeholders,

Almost exactly a year ago, Tammy and I closed the offices at Royal Oak Youth Assistance, entered new territory, and began to work from home. This anniversary week seemed like a good time to send out an annual report update you on all we have done since then. The pandemic era has been a time of challenge for ROYA.  We have continued with the services we have provided for over sixty years in our community, while at the same time adapting to meet new food, housing and financial insecurity in our community. The need is great, and we are doing our part.

Since March 15, 2020, we have accomplished the following:

  • Counseling services for 72 families.  We have learned how valuable Zoom sessions are for children and families, and we have provided each with a “therapy tub” to continue our play therapy services, delivered to their home.  This innovation has been helpful in keeping kids engaged in the counseling process.
  • Emergency needs grants for 454 children from 204 families for a total of $90,204.  These are grants up to $200 per child to help with basic needs like rent, mortgage, groceries, transportation, and other basic needs. Each family also received two pages of food, utility, water and rent referrals, focused on the various 2020 CARES programs.  This has been our most urgent area of expansion; in 2019, we spent only $1,203 on emergency needs.
  • New: We delivered enrichment boxes containing toys and games geared to learning and creativity to 177 families in partnership with Blessings in a Backpack, for a total of $1036.
  • Youth recognition: We have begun to plan our virtual Youth Recognition Event, which will take place in May.
  • We sent three kids to day camp for a total of $960. Most of our camp budget was diverted to emergency needs in 2020. We are beginning our 2021 camp process now, in the hopes that camp will again be possible.
  • New: We distributed 164 backpacks filled with school supplies via parking lot pickup in partnership with Woodward Corner Market and Operation Homefront. We also distributed boots, jackets, lunchboxes, toys and other donated goods.
  • New: For a little fun during difficult times, we coordinated the Drive Thru Boo where 137 children stopped at the booths of 8 groups for curbside delivery of toys, games, and snacks!
  • We partnered with Team Turkey again this year to provide cooked Thanksgiving dinners to 27 needy families.
  • New : 89 kids received “stocking stuffers” through our Small Gifts program with Operation Homefront at the holidays.
  • Our Adopt-a-Family program, a partnership with the Jordan and Ashley Siegel Fund provided gifts to 30 low-income families, representing 108 individuals, valued at approximately $7325.
  • Our Holiday Feast program, a partnership between the Jordan and Ashley Siegel Fund and the RO Meijer, provided $200 worth of groceries to 37 low-income families to tide them over the winter break.  The Siegel fund provided another $100 in groceries at the end of January.  In a creative touch, families also received handknit scarves, hats, and mittens from a partner “charity knitting” group.
  • Our 7 mentors provided encouragement, fun and advice by Zoom, calls, and outdoor meetings with their mentees.
  • We provided 11 skillbuilding grants so kids could participate in organized activities for a total of $2590.
  • New: We are giving away $2000 worth of books and clothing at a drive-thru giveaway this March. Information about this event will be distributed soon.
  • Our Second Step teachers, Bill Van Fleteren and Cathy Reif  have moved to video lessons, and have provided 15 modules to Oakland and Upton Elementary. They have adapted beautifully to taking the important SEL lessons remote with continued value for schools and kids.
  • Information and referral cases:  We frequently take calls from individuals and families who do not qualify for our services, or who are looking for services we cannot provide.  An important part of our job is to guide them to services who can help them. (Some of these relationships span months and involve dozens of calls and e-mails.)  This year we guided 65 families to the help they needed.
  • Our increased communication with stakeholders has garnered $87,636 in donations from individuals, groups, and companies, which has allowed us to expand our programming in such a powerful fashion!

We hope that you will continue to refer families to us.  Attached to this document are our casework referral form, emergency needs application and explanation, and  skillbuilding application.

Whether you are a sponsor, referral source, volunteer, donor, or partnering community organization, we are so grateful for your interest and participation with ROYA. Whatever the “next phase” look like, we look forward to moving into to it with your collaboration!

Nancy Minckler


Royal Oak Youth Assistance