Isolation. Missing their peers. Virtual learning. Just a few of the concerns and experiences our teens are feeling and facing due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The disappointment due to the cancellation and postponing of milestone events such as graduations, proms and spring dances also factor into how our teens respond to this new normal. As parents and those of us in youth development and human services in support of teens, we all are making every effort to insure that our teens find balance and adjust in a way that is not detrimental to their overall health and well-being.
At The Warehouse, we are leveraging numerous ways to virtually support our teens. Providing technology for those who may not have it to continue their studies and keep in touch with us. We are keeping them employed with us to perform various tasks to move our work forward and support them in a workforce development fashion. We communicate with our teens making weekly, if not daily check-in calls by phone and virtual means. Also, just this past week, we began offering virtual programming through our partners. Future sessions will include such topics as:
A Conversation About Gun Violence in Delaware with Traci Manza Murphy
Yoga, Pilates and Mindfulness with Mara Raskin
Safe and Respectful Relationships with Gabby Coleman
Our Water from The Nature Conservancy
Paint and Trap with Jo Norris
Interactive Cooking with Monty’s Neighborhood Snacks
Hip Hop Dance with Move and Inspire
We are also raising funds to make sure that we help Riverside public housing parents manage needs in the household through our Riverside Relief Fund, particularly if their teens aren’t fully able to work their part-time jobs, lack access to adequate technology, or have to purchase items they see that their teenagers may need to “survive” a pandemic. Feel free to join this effort by visiting reachriverside.org/donate to help us support families during this challenging period.
My colleague, Melody Phillips, Director of The Warehouse, notes that the response to COVID-19 from The Warehouse when it comes to our teens, will continue to be “For Teens, By Teens”. They will drive the programming that they feel is best to help us with providing the appropriate wraparound services and supports they need now and for the longer term.
As a father, I look forward to when my son LJ becomes a teen and experiences the support of a community beyond what I do daily when it comes to maintaining a healthy view when challenges such as this pandemic arise, or simple concerns as to where he will go to college and will he have what he needs to plan his future. I am proud to focus on our teens in the City of Wilmington and commit personally and professionally to do all I can, and on behalf of The Warehouse team, in partnership with our parents, funders, volunteers and the broader community, to see them through this snapshot in time on their road to a bright and productive future.
We invite you to tune in on Monday, May 11th at 12N for our Virtual Lunch and Learn Session where I will be joined by my colleague, Mrs. Phillips and also interview a few of our teens to discuss their perspectives on COVID-19 and its impact on them. As a bonus, I’ll also provide a virtual tour and sneak peak of The Warehouse prior to our official opening when public activities resume for our State.