by Melissa Johns, Executive Vice President
When Silicon Valley began to feel the impact of Covid-19, our young people from foster care turned to us scared. As their college campuses closed down, many had no family home to return to. The hourly jobs that helped make ends meet were disappearing quickly. Many felt overwhelmed with worries about how they’d make rent, buy groceries, and pay for their internet service.
Our team knew we had to act fast. A week ago we launched the Emergency Assistance Fund to provide emergency financial support to foster youth whose lives have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, we issued our first round of emergency cash payments to those scholars. We made it happen because of you, the helpers.
Your gifts to the Emergency Assistance Fund are so much more than money. They are symbols of hope for foster youth who have very little safety net in place. These donations tell our scholars that they are not alone; we’ve got their back and we will help them get through this crisis.
You may wonder how we know what they specifically need. The answer is our amazing team of Pivotal coaches, who are working every day to check in on the foster youth we serve. Our coaches are trained to help foster youth navigate uncertainty and disarray. As consistent sources of guidance, they are laser-focused on helping our scholars stay safe, maintain some optimism, and do whatever is necessary to stay on track academically.
Just like we always do – we’re connecting youth to resources in our community. We take seriously our responsibility to collaborate with community partners and stay abreast of other assistance available to low-income populations. We are working together to create a strong village of support for these young people. Whether it’s temporary housing, connections to free internet, or free lunch programs on school campuses – the helpers are out there in full force, and we’re proud to be part of the team.
Reaching vulnerable populations in times of crisis can be a challenge. Through our strong reputation and many years of direct service work, Pivotal has earned the trust of more than 500 young people in and from foster care. Whether it’s by email, phone, or text, we know how to reach them, and they can trust us to be here to help when they need us most.
In the weeks and months ahead, please continue to be a helper. We will be in touch with more opportunities to give, including ways that you can share a little of your time and creative energy with us. It’s that helping spirit that will get us through this crisis.