Over the course of the last three months, since the beginning of the unprecedented spread of Covid-19 and its subsequent impacts on the daily lives of all Angelenos, our approximately 500 Dreamer Scholars and their families have faced tremendous challenges. Many of our kids’ parents are losing or have already lost their jobs. Some of these families now have no source of income and face a variety of concerns about access to food, mental health resources, housing security and other basic necessities. Additionally, our Dreamer Scholars have received various degrees of distance learning instruction from their individual schools, if any, heightening pre-existing educational gaps and putting them at risk to fall behind in the following academic year. In order to safely, and effectively meet the comprehensive needs of our Dreamer Scholars, we have adapted our services and summer programming to encompass a wide range of academic, social-emotional and overall wellness enrichment activities and provide them with resources, including access to food, technology, and internet access. Continue reading to learn more about the many ways in which IHADLA is supporting our Dreamer Scholars remotely over the course of the summer!
As a part of our year-round approach to helping our Dreamer Scholars reach their full potential and achieve their dreams, we are providing a robust summer academy, completed in two phases, beginning in the middle of June through August. Our first phase of group and individual academic instruction focuses on preparing Dreamer Scholars for subjects of the following school year and addressing any weak points in the curriculum of the previous grade level. With partners like Revolution Prep, IHADLA is providing virtual homework help and PSAT tutoring sessions to students of all ages while also exposing them to a variety of extra-curricular enrichment activities in the topics of STEM/STEAM, college preparedness and interest, nutrition, arts and crafts and more depending on grade level and age. Aside from one-on–one tutoring, weekly group calls with Program Coordinators (PCs) help promote positive social interaction and engagement among students. For example, with the help of our partners at Kingi’s Kajukenbo martial arts studio, our 3rd and 4th graders from Inglewood have been participating in virtual martial arts classes every Monday through Thursday (see below). Making sure our students have the opportunity to stay active while staying home is essential to their continued wellbeing during this extended period of isolation.
Phase 2 transitions into individual check-ins between Program Coordinators and Dreamer Scholar’s parents or caregivers, assessing what areas of support are needed and how increased resources can be incorporated into IHADLA’s programming and students’ needs for the following school year. These check-ins focus on the student’s social-emotional, mental health and developmental progress, ensuring that comprehensive academic and personal growth can occur. By involving caregivers and parents in providing students with the necessary resources and assistance they need to encourage healthy behaviors and develop coping skills and resilience, we hope to create a broader support network for our students and diminish the potential gaps that could occur through delivering our services remotely.
During this period of extreme uncertainty and instability due to Covid-19 and other increasingly challenging circumstances faced by the low-income youth of color we serve, we at IHADLA know the necessity of our services and support to Dreamer Scholars’ wellbeing now more than ever. Our Program Coordinators and Executive Office team have been working tirelessly to remain connected to our students through online video calls, socially distant supply drop offs and other forms of remote communication. With the extraordinary support of our board, sponsors, alumni and ever-growing community of supporters, we have been able to continue our modified programming and raise the essential funds lost from the cancellation of our Dreamer Dinner. However, the needs of our Dreamer Scholars and their families are continuous. From participating in our Back to School drive to contributing to our Dreamer Scholars’ academic support programs, there are many ways to become a part of the IHADLA community remotely. For more information on how you can get involved from a distance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our page!