Supporting Our Community During COVID-19 Pandemic
[Updated September 2020]
Youth Communication continues to adapt our work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are so grateful to our community for your support these past several months. We hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy. To ensure the safety of our team and the youth we serve, our staff continue to work remotely.
Despite not being physically in our office, we have continued to elevate the voices of the most vulnerable teens in New York City, recognizing that their perspectives matter now more than ever. You may have noticed that since March we have piloted many new initiatives including: publishing new stories digitally, and providing free resources to educators. We have also now adapted all 8 of our social and emotional learning curricula. Student stories have been published in Chalkbeat, and even recommended by the New York Times. We are proud remain a reliable source of support for youth, educators and partners. This fall, we will continue to:
- Support teen writers and readers: Our writing services for YC teens have continued uninterrupted, in large part due to our virtual coaching capabilities. This summer, we held our first ever virtual summer writing workshop, focused on the theme of inequality. Our editors continue to be in close contact with teen writers via phone, text, and internet calls. Our writers – who typically hail from communities most impacted by COVID-19, and racial inequality – will continue developing their stories, and share their personal experiences and advice on how they manage the effects of the pandemic, remote learning, and racial justice.
We will continue to publish our stories entirely digitally this fall. To receive these stories in your inbox, please subscribe here.
- Provide culturally relevant social and emotional learning resources for remote learning: We will continue to support our growing community of educators with culturally relevant social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum and training, adapted for remote implementation. All eight of our SEL curricula for middle and high school are available for remote implementation for fall 2020. And we are training teachers and youth-facing staff remotely to use these resources. Our stories are also serving as the backbone for the holistic needs of staff, including trainings on how to address race, gender, and inequality, and emerging student needs in the wake of the pandemic. We also offer a collection of free remote learning resources developed in the last several months, which can be found in our Remote Learning Portal here.
- Provide youth perspectives to our community. Policy makers, organizational leaders, youth workers, and the general public need to know how youth are experiencing and coping with the pandemic. As students and their families face uncertain times, including the brutal racial violence and recent rise in antiracist activism, we are committed to continuing to elevate the voices of youth. Our teens are uniquely positioned to help us understand and more effectively respond to the impact the crisis will have on their lives and communities.
As you may know, we have a new strategic plan with ambitious goals, including a major fundraising campaign. In the next several years, we will dramatically expand the professional development and curricula that we provide to educators, including the incorporation of virtual technology.
While our timeline and roadmap have changed, our goals remain the same. To increase the impact of our uniquely relevant and engaging teen-written stories, in a time when youth voices matter more than ever.
We are eager to collaborate during this process—with schools and other organizations that can use our stories, as well as with media outlets that can help us reach wider audiences. Our teen writers will want to interview peers, educators, and caregivers about challenges and best practices for managing the effects of the pandemic.
Youth Communication has been a valuable resource for teens and the adults who support them across four decades in NYC, inspiring and informing youth during the height of the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic and during 9/11. Our world is again facing uncharted territory, and we are ready to rise to the challenge by supporting and empowering young voices.
P.S. If you, any questions, feedback, or ideas about our current work and future plans, please contact me any time at [email protected].