COVID-19 Family Relief Program: Nourishing “The Rose That Grew In Concrete”
By Jim Wambach
April 21, 2020
Last month, I shared the poem that has captured the hearts of all of us at Children Rising. “The Rose That Grew In Concrete” marvels at the beauty that can spring forth in the midst of difficult, urban conditions. Every one of the children we are privileged to work with is like a precious rose that grew from a crack in the concrete.
As we all continue to navigate the challenges and stress of this uncertain time, it is crucial to remember that those beautiful roses still need nourishment.
When schools closed, we were conducting 30 clinics in 18 schools for 400 students. Many of these children’s families are now completely without income and will not receive any government financial assistance. Today, we are working alongside the community to help the children on two fronts: short-term survival and long term recovery. This is especially important now that we know schools will not resume until fall, and most of the families of our children will be unemployed for an indeterminate period of time.
Leveraging our community enablement model (volunteer tutors + school partnerships = the pairing of a caring adult with a child in need), we pivoted and created the Children Rising COVID-19 Family Relief Program. This program provides immediate assistance to the many families who have experienced a catastrophic loss of income, while creating a bridge to help rebuild the all important relationship between the children and their tutors they came to know and love.
Partnering with other programs such as the Safeway Foundation’s Nourishing Neighbors program, our program will provide the families of our kids gift cards for groceries and other basic necessities.
This program will also help bridge the technology gap for many families of the children we support. Other partners have offered to provide us PC’s and internet connectivity as we work with our school partners to identify the families of our kids who do not have what is needed to access the internet from home. This will make it possible for those families to take more advantage of the remote learning curriculums offered by the schools, while creating a bridge for re-establishing our one-to-one mentoring and tutoring support for the children. Another important form of nourishment during these unsettling times for so many of the kids.
As we work today to address immediate needs, we must also remain focused on what I’m afraid is going to be a long term recovery for so many children who have been impacted by the economic and educational devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the schools finally resume, the school day and classrooms will likely be substantially altered from the “norm”. We’re not sure how that will impact the delivery of our programs but we must be prepared and equipped to innovate. We know there will be many more children who will need substantially more support in catching up, especially the first and second graders who lost a third of this school year. They were already disadvantaged – and are now falling further and further behind each day. We must be there for them!
Help us get ready to meet the growing critical needs of these children by ensuring we have the necessary funds. YOU can do this by supporting our re-imagined Hope for Children Now annual fundraiser. This event is always one of our most important fundraising events of the year. In equal parts a celebration of our children, we had to reimagine what this special celebration could be in a time of social distancing, and quickly innovate a replacement.
How You Can Help
There are 5 important ways you can help:
- Register for our Hope for Children Now Virtual 5K and ask your friends neighbors and colleagues to support you.
- Become a Hope For Children Now Sponsor
- Provide a financial gift today
- Provide an item for our Hope For Children Now Online Auction – email Chelsea Boniak at Chelsea@Children-Rising.org
- Celebrate the children and attend our May 16th FaceBook Live online event
Please join us and your community offering Hope for Children Now, NOW more than ever.
Questions? Please email Chelsea Boniak at Chelsea@Children-Rising.org