During this unprecedented crisis caused by COVID-19, daily life has radically shifted for just about every American, and the non-profit space is no exception. Our Mass Mentoring Partnership office has gone completely remote, and nearly every AmeriCorps I know has begun working from home. This has sharply impacted the scope of many people’s work, particularly those working in schools.
The economic impact has already begun to show, with over 3 million people filing for unemployment and the stock market tanking dramatically as we officially enter a bear market. Although everyone is undoubtedly hurting, those who were already struggling have been hit the hardest. Nearly half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and a similarly scary number have less than $1000 in savings. This strain has deeply affected the mentoring field as well. With businesses and museums closed down and most of the country in quarantine, mentors and mentees are struggling to meet and maintain their connection. This is particularly impactful for newly formed relationships and for youth with little access to technology.
Taking advantage of new services such as Netflix Party enables mentors and mentees to spend time together. Mass Mentoring Partnership has resources that you can see here. We will have more tools than when we started, and the mentoring field will be stronger because of it.
Furthermore, with Boston public schools shut down at least until the end of April, many families no longer have access to the resources they rely on in their daily lives. One of the most critical of these resources is school lunches. I recently talked with my fellow AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring Carmen Rondash, who coaches with Boston Youth Wrestling (BYW). Just because practice has been cancelled doesn’t mean Carmen is out of a job. BYW has paired with Project Bread, a nonprofit committed to ending hunger in Massachusetts, and taken on the responsibility of distributing 100 breakfasts and lunches every day.
They distribute these meals out of their office headquarters in Boston and transport 20 to 25 meals to childcare centers. These childcare centers are meant to ease the load on essential employees such as grocery store workers that still have to work but do not have access to child care. Hopefully, these services are helping to relieve what must be tremendous anxiety.
If you or someone you know is in need of food for your children, go to the following address:
100 Warren St Boston, MA 02119 between the hours of 8 AM and 12 PM.
You can request food for your loved ones. A typical breakfast includes milk, fruit, and a grain while lunch includes milk, fruit, vegetables, and a protein often in the form of a sandwich.
This program will continue until Boston public schools resume. Once regular daily life resumes, Boston Youth Wrestling has fantastic youth programs that any kid can participate in. They have partnerships with 17 schools across Boston, Chelsea, and Lynn, and their work teaches kids about their own strength and helps them feel empowered by their own abilities. You can check them out further on their website here.
Jackson Slaughter is an AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring Communications and Network Outreach Associate at Mass Mentoring Partnership.