March 13, 2020

Our Commitment to our Youth and Families

A message from Friends–Austin Executive Director.

Dear friends of Friends–Austin,

We understand that the COVID-19 developments bring a sense of anxiety and fear for many people, and that is perhaps even more true for the vulnerable children and families Friends–Austin serves.

One of my favorite parts of our model is that we are a NO MATTER WHAT organization and remain tenaciously committed to the youth we support. This is a time, therefore, for us to double-down on our role as a safety net.

While we have not experienced any known direct exposure by our youth, families or staff at this point, we are actively planning for potential developments, including school closures.

As part of our dedication to our children, despite any and all challenges, our local and national teams have carefully mapped out a path for our Friends to continue serving our kids and families should schools close.

This means:

Our Friends are communicating with each child's caregiver(s) to assess basic needs and ensure those are met.

  • This includes activating our emergency funds for families who won't be able to feed their children without open schools.

Friends are continuing with each child's teacher to ensure continuity of academics if schools close.

  • This includes creating support kits of books, crayons, academic activities and games for children and their siblings to utilize at home, if needed.
  • Additionally, even if Friends are not able to join youth in their classrooms, they will be able to work with children on home-school work.

We are actively preparing creative solutions to serve children remotely using technology.

  • If Friends and youth are not able to have time together at schools or our Clubhouse, they can spend valuable time together outdoors, in parks and any other fresh air locations still accessible.
  • Friends always model healthy hygiene habits to our children and will continue to do so. We will take great care in how we use public spaces, restaurants and youth-friendly businesses.

We exist to walk alongside the children we serve with a professional, consistent, stable adult presence. We are in a unique position to support our youths’ families during good days and bad days, inside and outside of school and those efforts will never waver.

Thank you for your support, which enables our service and your continued commitment to our children and families!

Nancy Pollard, Executive Director

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