When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We continue to be inspired by our grantees who are adapting, innovating, and championing their missions more than ever during this time.
Defy Ventures has paused its in-prison programs due to the California Department of Corrections restrictions on visitors at this time, but Defy's staff hasn't skipped a beat. The team has been able to connect with participants to continue with the EIT (“Entrepreneur-in-Training") curriculum, and has shifted to virtual meetings for post-release and community programs. In addition, they're starting virtual book clubs and launching a letter-writing campaign so that volunteers and post-release EITs can send words of encouragement to in-prison EITs.
Rise reallocated a small portion of its project budget to provide immediate shelter to 40 local college students living in their car or on the streets. The goal: to use the time in a temporary facility to find permanent housing for these students. Rise has also continued its work with local college student organizers, shifting from in-person to digital advocacy methods.
Rock the Vote moved its Census “Create-a-thon" to an innovative digital gathering. Fortunately, the “Create-a-thon" was all about expressing creativity through the use of digital tools and platforms. The kick-off and award ceremonies were conducted virtually while a Slack workspace was created so that participants and event organizers could share resources, announcements, and questions about the Census in real time.
The Street Vendor Coalition responded swiftly to alleviate the negative economic impact of COVID-19 on local micro-businesses and their workers. The coalition created the Street Vendor Emergency Fund to raise the money needed to provide $400 in direct cash assistance to vendors who are unable to access government assistance.
The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's coordinated an alternative to its in-home caregiving model given concerns around older adults and COVID-19. The program, “E-Meal," will combat isolation by setting up virtual dinner meetings via phone or video to connect YMAA's volunteers with older adults. Not only does E-Meal encourage social interaction, but it also gives older adults a venue to express their need for resources.
The Natural History Museum has closed its local museums and paused all in-person programming. But NHM's Community Science team is accustomed to using creative, mobile methods to encourage Angelenos to explore nature on their own. One example: the upcoming 2020 City Nature Challenge, an international effort to mobilize people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe using their own smartphones and cameras.
826LA is continuing to provide its free tutoring, writing workshops, and support services to students, teachers, and families both online and over the phone. 826LA was motivated to make the shift to virtual methods in part because of the team's belief that storytelling can be a powerful tool in difficult times. See 826LA's digital resource hub for families here.
Harlem Lacrosse adapted proactively to the challenges faced by students, families, and teachers due to COVID-19. Program Directors served as “Resource Catalysts" to disseminate information from schools about virtual learning, meal distribution, and more. Meanwhile, the Leadership Team created virtual platforms and streamlined curricula to continue delivering academic support, athletic training, and social-emotional learning virtually. Some activities: live workouts, lacrosse jeopardy games, and an age-appropriate discussion on the coronavirus.
9 Dots has designed new remote learning options for its Get Coding and Academy students and will be offering webinar lessons to a full grade level at a time. 9 Dots is also launching this year's CS Education Heroes awards as a virtual campaign by soliciting videos from the community about why CS education and teachers are so important.