We found a way to feel together when apart. Creating a feeling of community and connection is not easy when you cannot be face to face. However, it is possible when you focus on the “can”, get creative and stay positive and optimistic. We created a caring, engaged online community for programs that was based on “flexible connection”.
Let’s hear from some of the teacher community champions that witnessed our young people participating in our online community programs:
The digital divide made online programming impossible for many young people, especially those living in shelters or facing severe financial barriers. We knew those children and families could not be left out of our COVID-19 response. To reach them, we created our DAREarts Creativity Kits Initiative. Centered on wellness and self- expression, we designed these kits to include 12 weeks of art-based activities along with all the needed supplies and an invitation to reach out to our team by phone for support. We partnered with family and youth shelters, social service agencies and First Nations communities to distribute more than 1000 kits over the spring and summer and prepared to distribute hundreds more throughout our next programming year.
None of this would be possible without the trust and support of our incredible partners. Across the board, our funders were just as committed to the wellbeing of young people during this crisis and they overwhelmed us with their support, both through supporting our DARETogether giving campaign financially and volunteering their time and talent as volunteer delivery drivers, online program mentors and relationship builders.
This year, our network of supporters proved that nothing, absolutely nothing, would prevent them from making sure young people across the country knew they had an entire community in their corner, cheering them on.