MAY 1ST 2020
During these challenging times, Project: VISION remains committed to our mission. We are adapting to the emerging needs and implementing programs that help our 270 middle school and high school youth continue to learn, support their social and emotional needs, and maintain a sense of community and connectedness to their peers and mentors.
With the closure of all schools extending through the end of the school year, supporting continued learning and growth is more important than ever. We continue to support CPS e-learning by providing students with after school tutoring, enrichment activities to keep basic skills sharp, and language support to ELL students through multiple online platforms. We are also continuing to support high school students with college readiness activities like online test prep, college workshops, and access to college counseling by PV staff.
All students can get one-on-one online help from their tutors every day between 2-6PM on our Discord. Enrichment sessions for English, STEM subjects, and SAT prep are also held weekly. More than 60% of our students have taken advantage of these resources, and we continue to help more students access the technology, so that they can join us.
Social isolation and sense of uncertainty can create a lot of stress and anxieties for teens during this time. To ensure that we take care of the emotional and mental health of our students, PV continues to look for creative ways to help them stay connected with their friends, peers, mentors, tutors, and our staff. In addition to checking in on students regularly, we’ve created safe online spaces where students can continue to socialize, support each other, and discuss things that are bothering them like uncertainty of the future, stresses of e-learning, or even the fear and anxiety around being Asian American during this time when xenophobia is on the rise.
While PV students and staff are social distancing, we are still staying engaged with one another, whether it’s being active on the #off-topic channel on our Discord, sharing funny memes, or chatting about Webtoons. Also we will be doing weekly movie and trivia nights with students starting in May.
Staying engaged in their communities and staying focused on the future are positive ways to help youth maintain a sense of purpose. While some of PV’s youth leadership projects and internship plans have been derailed by the pandemic, our youth groups have been creatively making up for it. For example, our youth groups continue to work on Census 2020 community education and mental health awareness by leveraging social media. Others are using the time to provide PV with feedback to create better programming next year, polishing up their resumes, and honing their job interview skills via our online spaces.
DREAM students have been working on professional development, including building resumes, practicing interviewing skills. Senior, Ashlye X. says, “From DREAM, I have learned and practiced many skills to improve my chances of getting a job in the future. A resume is not simply a sheet of paper but is a short summary of all you have accomplished in your professional career.”
Young Positive Agents of Change
Despite no longer being able to use the Center as a space to host events to educate their peers about the census, YPAC students are still actively talking to their families about completing the census as well as building awareness of it by posting on their social media.
Through MHM, I got to reflect on how I have been dealing with the COVID-19 situation and how I can maintain my mental health during this time. It’s really important especially during a crisis like this. As in every crisis, there will be terrible things happening around you, but you need to have a positive mindset.
Mental Health Matters
MHM students are learning why mental and emotional health are so important during this time. Through online meetings, youth get the chance to express how they are feeling and learning about ways to take care of themselves and their loved ones. They are also creating a mental health resource for peers to find educational information, help lines, and other support groups.
Because of the pandemic, we are seeing the broader needs of students and their families, as many parents have lost their jobs. With the help of our fellow social service organizations, we are doing what we can to support families seeking basic needs, jobs, public benefits, and other forms of aid. For example, we’ve educated parents on unemployment, helped them apply for emergency relief funds, and share a weekly post of available resources in the community.
Thanks to Grace Chan, Executive Director of CBCAC, nearly 50 PV parents learned about unemployment benefits and how to apply for them.
Census 2020 is extremely important for this community, as getting an accurate count helps us get the federal resources we need for public services. Although in-person assistance is not possible, PV staff have helped more than 30 families complete the census through Zoom “office hours.”