The current COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating the gaps we have been working hard to fill with the development of quality mentoring relationships. As the most recent blog from renowned mentoring researcher Jean Rhodes reiterates, it is our “marginalized youth who are likely to bear the heaviest burdens of trauma and economic fallout.” The longer schools are closed and support systems are not in full operation, the further out of the mainstream our at-risk kids are falling.
With long-term school closures in effect, parents are required to take on the role of teacher, being responsible for content delivery and making sure assignments are completed and submitted on time. For the families that our programs target, this is very unlikely to occur. When these students eventually return to school, the role of their mentors becomes even more essential than ever. The need for mentors will continue to increase beyond what is already a seemingly insurmountable gap here in Appalachia.
As we pivot to meet both the current and future needs of our program, we are acutely aware of the uniqueness of our work in Eastern Kentucky. We are exploring new ways to build meaningful and positive relationships in the new reality in which we have found ourselves. Stay tuned!
Support Our Mission
When you support our mission, you have a direct effect on the future of our Appalachian communities. Here’s an update from just a few of the kids you are impacting today!
Jake is a 15-year-old court-involved youth who has found himself on and off the street these past several months. Although his parents are married and both in the home, his family is far from stable and healthy. Schools being shut down means he does not get to meet with his mentor and spends more time trapped in this chaotic environment. We are praying for Jake especially now as arrangements couldn’t be made to communicate with him outside of school. His family’s current legal issues cause a great deal of distrust toward any outsider offering “help.”
Lexi is the 13-year-old daughter of a single father doing what he can to keep her in school and out of trouble. Lexi has overcome enormous challenges lately in school, at home and in juvenile court. The isolation they are facing as a family has the potential to do more harm than good. They both have existing health issues and struggle with anxiety/depression. Their feelings of “it’s us against the world” only increase in times like this. Lexi’s mentor is currently keeping in touch with her via text and video calls. The mentor has also been able to help the family understand the current crisis and how it directly affects them, as well as assist them in safely obtaining needed food and supplies.
Katie is a lively, talented and very smart 3rd grader who has been with her mentor, a college professor, for over a year now. Katie’s home life is one of the most unstable situations currently in our program. She is shifted back and forth between caregivers and parents, depending on who can best look after her at the time. Both parents are drug addicts who have a history of chasing the supply line between Southeast Ky and Cincinnati. Although she has a grandmother who loves her dearly, her own mental limitations offer Katie little hope or opportunity, for both her present and her future.
Join us as we pray for these kids and the countless others who find themselves cut off from their most stable relationships and reliable services.
*Names and other identifying details have been changed to protect privacy