Over the past several months, you’ve heard a lot on the news and social media about the challenges educators are facing and continue to face due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, what about youth-serving organizations and programs? How are these professionals addressing their own challenges of reaching youth and continuing their programs?
“After hearing concerns from some of our Youth Summit Planning Committee members, we felt like this would be a good opportunity to convene a group of youth and professionals to discuss the challenges to providing services to students that were traditionally offered in the school setting prior to COVID-19 and exchange ideas on how to overcome them,” said Trimease K. Carter, youth engagement manager at Eat Smart Move More South Carolina.
The planning committee recommended partnering with Together SC, an organization that focuses on South Carolina’s nonprofit community, to host a two-part webinar series to help youth-serving organizations continue their important work. ABLE South Carolina, Family Connections of South Carolina, the 7th District AME Church, and S.H.E Is Me Mentoring also partnered and planned the series, Re-Imaging Program Delivery To Students During COVID-19.
Part one featured a youth panel providing perspectives of how to best reach and serve them during this time. Some of the tips they offered to youth-serving organizations included: offering programming on evenings rather than weekends, texting rather than emailing, and sending multiple messages and being persistent. Perhaps the most important tip was that youth are not on Facebook. The first webinar also featured Vicki Ladd, State School Nurse Consultant at SCDHEC. She shared considerations for working with students and youth as schools reopen.
During part two, ABLE South Carolina Director of Youth Transition Paige Maxwell moderated an expert panel where panelists shared their experiences delivering school-based programs during COVID-19. The panel included Carena Jones, school social worker at Eau Claire High School; Paige Selking, project director at Ending the Silence National Alliance on Mental Illness South Carolina Chapter; Tabitha Strickland, assistant principal at Kershaw County School District; and Amanda Metzger, director of community engagement at Healthy Learners. The panelists were able to give insight on the impacts of COVID-19 on programming, challenges to reaching students, changes that they’ve implemented, relationships with funders, and moving forward.
A recording of both webinars is available to view here.