Last week, we celebrated Lucy's first day of virtual learning!
The Digital Divide is real. When the quarantine started, 65 percent of the families we serve, including Lucy's, did not have a single computer or tablet at home. We helped secure devices and WiFi for all our families. We taught someone in each household how to work the device and how to access the relevant software, account or app.
Even with these supports, many of our children did not participate in remote learning.
As you know, the families we serve already faced significant hardships prior to the pandemic. As a result, many of our youth faced chronic absences, dealt with behavior issues in school and/or were behind academically. The COVID-19 crisis has made their already challenging lives that much more difficult.
Our two-generation approach–building strong relationships and supporting not only the youth but their caregivers as well–has proven critical during this current crisis.
After failing to connect with a parent, teachers regularly notify our Friends when a child has missed several video classes or assignments. Because they have built a trusting relationship, our Friends can have honest conversations with caregivers, encouraging them to see their child’s academic needs as important as their many other pressing needs. Friends talk through the obstacles preventing parents from having their child participate in e-learning and brainstorm possible solutions. Friends coach parents on the importance and benefits of providing structure and keeping children on a consistent sleep schedule.
It’s this level of support and consistency that each of our children needs in order to actively engage in school and continue their learning.
It's this level of support that was needed to get Lucy to join her classmates online.
We believe in the potential of every child in our program. And like every child, our children need the proper support and resources to get there. That’s exactly what Friends provide.