Letter to the Editor

Immensely Grateful

To the Editor,

I write to you as the Executive Director and Co-Founder of For Kids Only Afterschool (FKO) to shed light on the role our organization plays in supporting the children and families of the City of Everett. Since our nonprofit opened its doors to the City of Everett in 2007, we have served thousands of Everett children and have become an essential pillar in the community, leveraging significant grants totaling over $10 million. I am proud to share the story of FKO’s impact and express our sincere gratitude to Mayor DeMaria and the City of Everett for their unwavering support.

At FKO, we recognize that the afterschool hours are a crucial time for children, and without a safe and enriching environment, they may be vulnerable to negative influences. Many of the children we serve are from families where caregivers must work and have limited options for childcare. By providing a structured and nurturing space, we not only ensure their safety but also offer opportunities for academic growth, social development, and personal enrichment.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, former Governor Baker called upon childcare providers to step up and serve as emergency childcare providers, ensuring that essential workers had a safe place for their children while they continued their invaluable service to our community. FKO responded to this call, willingly remaining open despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. However, we faced a significant hurdle when our usual programs in the Everett Public School buildings became inaccessible due to closures.

It was at this critical moment that the City of Everett stepped in to support our organization. Upon learning of our need for a temporary space, Mayor DeMaria informed us that Pope John, now owned by the city and sitting vacant, could be utilized by FKO. This allowed us to keep our doors open and provide essential services to the children of Everett. Along with operating full-day remote learning centers, FKO distributed 6,500 snack packs and weekly food boxes to families within the community throughout the pandemic. The City of Everett went above and beyond to ensure that FKO had the necessary space, technology and resources to support children with their online learning and ensure families had access to nutritious food and snacks.

When the schools reopened for in-person learning, FKO’s request for the Everett Public Schools to exercise a contract extension option was denied by leadership of the Everett Public Schools and a majority of the prior Everett School Committee members, leaving FKO without a place to go on short notice.  That decision did not reflect the continuing needs of Everett families who rely upon FKO to provide a safe and enriching space for their children. Once again, Mayor DeMaria and his team came to our rescue, granting us permission to continue using the space at Pope John until we found a permanent home. The Mayor’s unwavering commitment to the children and families of Everett has provided us with stability and allowed us to fulfill our mission.

While we actively search for a forever home in Everett, we remain immensely grateful for the support and dedication of Mayor DeMaria, who has responded to the needs of Everett families by recognizing the importance of providing a safe and nurturing environment for our children during these critical afterschool hours, school vacation weeks and summer months. His leadership and commitment to our community’s well-being have been instrumental in our continued success and impact.

If you know of a suitable space that could become FKO’s new home, we kindly ask you to reach out to FKO Business Manager, Larry Keegan at 617-201-4653 or [email protected]. Your support and assistance in finding the perfect location will ensure that we can continue offering our enriching program to the children of Everett. Together, let us ensure that every child in Everett has access to the quality afterschool care they deserve. It is through our collective efforts that we can empower children, strengthen families, and build a thriving community for generations to come. Thank you for being an essential part of FKO’s journey to make a difference in the lives of our young learners.



Kneeland Keegan

Executive Director

and Co-Founder,

For Kids Only Afterschool

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