AN UPDATE FROM OUR CEO JOY MAHLER
In moments like these our purpose and values matter a lot to the people and communities we serve. Our ability to work together becomes paramount as we often hear it is in times of crisis that heroes are born and creative innovation rises to heights we have not experienced. We appealed to Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation for secure technology to provide service remotely. Within hours, we were funded phase one of our technology project.
The needs of phase two quickly became apparent and The Community Foundation of Sarasota County stepped up to support with resources needed in this unprecedented time. The family of Staff, volunteers, Board and donors clearly understand ‘together, there’s nothing we can’t overcome’.
Those together words ring out a positive ‘we can do this’ message to our youth. We are innovating and adapting our service delivery to ensure our youth stay virtually connected to their mentors. I am so proud of our volunteer Bigs inspiring our youth that together we will get through this. The fact is the young people we serve are likely to bear the heaviest burdens of trauma and economic fallout facing increased anxiety, stress, fear and worry. A much greater exposure to adverse childhood experiences. The trauma to our most vulnerable will continue with profound effects, our work could not be more urgent and our mission more important than ever. Big Brothers Big Sisters are actively supporting the vital, life-changing mentoring relationships to engage in social emotional and educational support of our young people and families.
Our face to face connectivity has temporarily changed but our impact remains strong. I am extraordinarily proud and inspired by the way our Staff and volunteers have risen to the challenge with flexibility, resilience, courage and compassion. Everyone is working together to inspire, encourage and support our children and families. Together, we can do this!
• Together we hosted 26 virtual interviews. • Together we virtually matched 20 children in less than three weeks. • Together we taught Littles and their families in cyber safety courses. • Together we launched virtual enrichment series supporting volunteer Bigs • Together virtual trainings are a reality • Together we engaged our network to use at-home time productively.
To be sure, we’re all facing a long and challenging list of unknowns but as our community has stood beside us for over fifty years, we do know, together we can do this!
With heartfelt gratitude,
Joy Mahler President/CEO
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