As a field committed to relationships and networks, we are thinking deeply about what the COVID-19 pandemic means for youth-serving organizations in the out-of-school time hours and ensuring they are sustained in ways that are intentional and responsive. As our physical routines are broken and movements are restricted, it can lead to us becoming trapped in an information overload and disconnected from relationships that provide so much we need in times like these. It is important to balance being informed with recognizing and acting on our need to reach outward to the people in our communities so we are there for each other.
Our vision moving forward:
- Afterschool programs & staff are working closely with schools to provide full-day, enriching, and engaging safe spaces for children ages 0-13 of Vermont’s essential workers.
- Afterschool programs and youth-serving organizations are providing online resources and using innovative platforms to reach out to children and youth and to support positive social connections throughout this time of social distancing and isolation.
- Afterschool programs and youth-serving organizations are providing resources to parents and families to help support the emotional well-being of children and youth throughout this crisis.
- Vermont’s youth are part of the solution.
- Recognition that we are #InThisTogether.
What we are committed to providing:
1. SEL resources for families and programs around social-emotional learning (SEL), youth resilience, and connectedness.
2. Technical assistance and ongoing support for afterschool programs and schools running childcare programs for school-age children of essential workers.
3. Relevant online training and professional development opportunities for staff of afterschool programs and youth-serving organizations throughout the crisis.
4. A resource bank of online tools and resources that can be used to support enrichment, learning, and connectedness.
5. Public policy and advocacy support for afterschool programs and youth-serving organizations throughout emergency response and recovery.
6. Stories from and up-to-date Information on what services afterschool programs, schools, and youth-serving organizations are offering to children, youth, and families across the state.
7. Outreach and communications around information, policy alerts, and opportunities for the field:
How to help:
- Practice social distancing. NOW.
- Understand and recognize that afterschool staff, youth workers, out-of-school time educators, and third space providers are often an important part of a young person’s life. These people will be integral in how a community responds to the needs of youth and families in the coming weeks and months.
- Tag or message us on Facebook & Twitter (@VTAfterschool for both) so we can share relevant news to our field.