In one short month, COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives. Many of us are struggling to wrap our heads around what is happening in the world and how to adapt. And while we are amidst so much change and uncertainty, one thing we can count on is community.
Why supporting youth development professionals right now is critical
Play At the Core (PATC) is stepping up to provide a supportive space for youth development leaders, practitioners, and caregivers. These individuals are on the front lines, providing critical support to the children and communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
Traditionally, PATC’s program partners are school or community-based. These programs provide youth with crucial opportunities to build supportive relationships, develop new skills, and form their identities in a safe space outside of the home.
With the closing of schools, community centers, and public spaces, the pandemic has limited students’ access to these safe spaces and heightened senses of disconnection and isolation. Programs have had to pivot overnight, finding new ways to engage their youth remotely, and navigating many unfamiliar challenges along the way.
Building digital community to strengthen youth development work
On April 1st, PATC kicked off the first of its bi-weekly “Community Huddles,” with the goal to provide a consistent space to connect, support, and inspire youth development professionals. Participants from around the world joined Zoom to share about their “COVID-19 Superpowers” (newly-found sources of strength and inspiration in their work) and learn how programs are innovating to sustain and strengthen their work at this most important time.
While the “Community Huddles” were initially intended to strengthen the community when so many are feeling isolated, PATC founder Jared Carroll hopes that they will last well-beyond the Coronavirus pandemic. “Relationships matter deeply,” he said, “and by connecting to share what is inspiring us, and the ways that we are creatively meeting this challenge, the whole field can be better able to support their kids, their teams, and one another.”
What’s on deck for PATC’s “Community Huddles”
The next “Community Huddle” will take place Wednesday, April 15 and focus on this very topic. The one-hour video workshop will start at 12:30pm EST and is called, “Life during COVID-19: Ways we’re supporting our children and families, our teams, and ourselves.” Learnings and insights will be posted on PATC’s website and other social media platforms.
Know someone who works with children that would benefit from participating in PATC “Community Huddles”? Just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!