Learn how Identity is responding to Covid-19
Identity is laser focused on reaching out and delivering critical help to our students, older youth, and families under threat of hunger, losing their housing or extreme isolation as many of their parents work multiple jobs, often without benefits, and were the first to be laid off as businesses closed.
In addition to compiling and sharing updated public resources (available on the Covid-19 Updates and Resources page), here is an overview of what Identity programs are doing to support our youth and families.
ALL PROGRAMS: Thousands of client families have already or will be reached personally to connect them to safety-net services and educate them on evolving COVID-19 policies and supports. We are delivering groceries to families and Chromebooks to students without transportation or who can’t make pick-up windows to food banks and school sites, and we are distributing grocery gift cards to augment food bank and school food distributions. We are helping people understand Covid 19 so they can stay safe, file for unemployment, arrange low or no cost internet, obtain emergency funds for rent and utilities and more. We have increased bi-lingual clinical and nonclinical mental health services to include one-on-one supportive listening, topic specific psycho-educational groups (i.e. the importance of establishing routines for children), support groups and webinars (i.e. coping with anxiety), and referrals to Identity and other mental health professionals. Family Reunification and Strengthening programs continue, as well.
Mil gracias to friends of Identity who have made special contributions aimed at easing the suffering of young people and families impacted by COVID-19.
One father who was laid off said it this way, “Thank you for keeping food on my children’s table.”
All three High School Wellness Centers are connecting with vulnerable teens regularly, running their after-school enrichment programs on virtual platforms, and making sure students have the technology and tools to keep up with homeschooling. Targeted Instagram accounts from each center keep the student population aware of resources, and keep their spirits and school connection strong.
The Youth Opportunity Centers are connecting older youth with available jobs, continuing mental health counseling by phone or secure video services, delivering virtual classes and tutoring for GED and ESOL students, and supervising a new mask-making initiative to train and supply 28 clients with the raw materials needed to make fabric masks, and a stipend when they each complete 40 masks. This win/win project will produce 1,120 protective masks that will be distributed among other Identity families to add to everyone’s safety. For more information, download a description of the YOC Mask Production Project.
The Out-of-School-Time programs are running live online on a schedule that works for individual groups. Elementary and middle-school students are working with Identity staff in smaller sub-groups to help already struggling students keep connected to school, and keep progressing in reading and math.
Parents continue their Community Activism, by sharing their concerns at public discussions such as virtual Board of Education gatherings, while Identity continues to monitor and advocate for policies and practices that mitigate the disproportionate suffering in the Black and Brown communities.
The Census Awareness program continues their outreach into traditionally undercounted Latino communities in Montgomery County with virtual Census 2020 parties, held in evenings for community members to understand the crucial importance of being counted. They invited people to create short videos about the Census, and the winners have been running on Identity’s social media. Watch one of those videos below, and follow Identity on Facebook @identityincyouth and on Instagram @identityyouthmd.