JBBBSLA Response to COVID-19
This is an unprecedented time as we work to keep our communities safe and healthy in the face of COVID-19. From all of us at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, we sincerely hope that you and your family are safe and healthy.
As a nonprofit, specifically a nonprofit whose core mission is to empower the potential of youth through one-to-one interactions, this crisis is pushing us to make difficult decisions.
But we are confident that we can get through this.
Our mission is more critical than ever, and we still need your support to continue offering our life-changing programs to children and teens in our community. We will not lose sight of how programs like ours help combat mental health issues such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, and self-esteem.
We are checking in with our Bigs, Littles, Campers, and Scholarship recipients on a regular basis and are providing support and resources to ensure they continue to realize their fullest potential even during this crisis. We are also rallying behind the parents in our programs as they face their own challenges.
All JBBBSLA staff has been working remotely since mid-March. We have transferred our computer network, phone system, and back-office functions including development and accounting to remote access and all staff have full operational capabilities. We are using video conferencing to keep employees engaged with management and each other. If you need to reach a member of our staff, you can call their office line and they will receive your call or voicemail.
Bigs and Littles
First and foremost, the safety of our Bigs, Littles, families, and staff is our top priority. With social distancing, online learning and added insecurities, Bigs’ connections to Littles are more vital than ever. With the help and support of our match support team, our matches have transitioned to virtual meetups (e.g., FaceTime, Zoom, phone calls, texting, email, etc.). We continue to provide Bigs and Littles with ideas for connecting with each other, virtually, in fun and creative ways. Bigs continue to provide emotional support to their Littles, talk through challenges, and just offer a friendly face on the phone during this time of isolation. For those individuals who do not have access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone, we are trying to provide these devices whenever possible so they can stay in touch with each other during these difficult times. We are also interviewing prospective Bigs and Littles and their families via Zoom and will soon start match introductions via Zoom.
All in-person activities planned for our Camp Bob Waldorf site have been canceled for Summer 2020. Please see our full statement here. Our camp team is planning for virtual camp to recreate the camp experience at home with a variety of virtual components.
Our guidance team has reached out to families and students to check in on them and to continue providing guidance in the college process. Many colleges are changing their admission requirements and procedures in light of the current pandemic. Our counselors are keeping families and students informed about changes and providing support navigating the changing landscape. In the coming months, we had several events planned for students and we will be holding all of them virtually including our kick-off event, SAT prep classes, and summer workshops.
Our scholarship recipients are home from college and continuing to pursue academics via online learning. We are reaching out to them to check-in and provide support. In addition, this is scholarship application time and we are hosting the interviews via an online meeting platform.
Teen Talk continues to be a vital resource to teens in crisis during these uncertain times. Since most teens are home more than usual, the number of posts has grown exponentially from teens in need of support. Accordingly, we have increased the hours our Teen Advisors are available to respond to meet the growing needs of their peers. In addition, our newest training group for new Teen Advisors is completing sessions virtually and we are making plans for our next cohort to participate in remote training.
We are so grateful to each of you for your patience, understanding, and support during this time. Your health, safety, and well-being are our top priority.
Together, We Are Defenders of Potential.