March 11, 2020
Our Commitment to Our Youth and Families During the COVID-19 Outbreak
A message from our Executive Director, Steve Lewis.
As many of you already know, Seattle Public Schools received news yesterday of its first confirmed case of COVID-19, right here in South Seattle at Aki Kurose Middle School. This afternoon, SPS announced that all schools will be closed beginning Thursday, March 12, for fourteen days.
I understand that this latest development brings with it a new level of fear and anxiety for many, that there are concerns about the health and safety of our families, our schools and our communities. This is no less true for all of us at Friends of the Children–Seattle. Our local and national staff teams, as well as our Board of Directors, have carefully mapped out a path for our mentors to continue to serve our families that will reduce transmission to staff, protect vulnerable populations and prioritize ongoing service to youth and families. This is part of our commitment to youth no matter what.
What this means for our mentors and the youth they work with is:
While our mentors won’t be able to join their youth in classrooms, they will be able to work with youth on home learning assignments.
While mentors and youth won’t be able to spend time at our program office in Rainier Valley, they will be able to spend time outdoors, in parks, at the zoo and any other fresh air location still accessible.
While mentors and youth will practice social distancing as appropriate and necessary, they will also lean on technology to connect and continue to work toward their goals.
And when our mentors and youth are together, they will practice healthy hygiene habits and take great care in where and how they use public spaces, restaurants and youth-friendly businesses.
At Friends–Seattle, we remain more committed than ever to ensuring that the one-on-one relationships that make this organization so unique and special, remain strong. We also recognize that we have the unique opportunity to support our youths’ families during this difficult time. Based on input from families, we expect there to be significant needs around food, staples and supplies. In the coming days, we will be asking for support to purchase supplies for families and continue to fund mentor time, delivering supplies and staying present in the lives of families. We thank you for your continued commitment to our youth as well.
To learn more about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself and your community, please refer to the references below: