As Spring Ended, Youth Prepared to Help Families

Date of Session: May 26, 2020

As the spring semester of 2020 came to a close, young people volunteering with Student ACES, a non-profit organization in the Glades, began discussing how they might help families using Palm Health Foundation’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) fund.

Many alumni of Student ACES returned from college to spend time at the Student ACES Center (SAC) in Belle Glade and finish their coursework remotely. Three alumni who played a key role in the We Are Here project visited with high school students working on the 2020 U.S. Census. They became story collectors once again for the COVID-19 project and collected nearly 100 stories by the end of May. The sensemaking session on May 26 was their first check-in.

They noted that while many people felt panic when the coronavirus first appeared, that feeling had worn off over time. Some seemed to brush it off and were not overly concerned.

Funders were concerned about the food supply and broadband issues. Youth commented that food sites were not taking family size into account.

At this sensemaking session, the youth volunteers, local leaders, and Palm Health Foundation began talking about the NHN fund. The fund represented an opportunity for young people not typically given funding resources to contribute to the decision-making process and distribute resources to families and individuals facing adversity.

People were not well-informed about COVID or the type of behavioral precautions to take. Youth suggested using the story collection tool to educate and encourage residents. They discussed possible new prompts capturing, for example, what residents were doing to “stay on top of things.” Youth also suggested helping families budget their limited resources.