Adjusting for Education
By Blythe Keeler Robinson, President and CEO, Sheltering Arms
As we prepare to close out this unprecedented year, there’s no argument that the pandemic has presented challenges no one could have ever expected. The impact to the economy and key industries, like healthcare and education, has called for major shifts unlike anything else we’ve experienced in recent decades. As individuals, we felt it.
Defending the Early Years, a non-profit organization with a mission of working for a just, equitable and quality early childhood education for every young child, conducted a survey earlier this year looking at the effects of COVID-19 on early education. Its findings report showed that the key challenge for parents, teachers and young children alike was ADJUSTMENT. Only 23% of parents indicated that they had an easy adjustment; and 15% reported that their children had an easy adjustment. Understandably, parents were most concerned about managing stress, followed by trying to figure out how to juggle returning to work with young children at home and managing financial struggles. For teachers, the main points of concern were the reopening of schools and the overall increase of stress.
As the rest of the year unfolded and we all settled in to our “next normal” with the educational needs of Atlanta’s children in mind, we’ve seen how teachers have adjusted to educate children, whether they are at school or at home; we know that parents have adjusted to becoming co-teachers at home; and children have adjusted to work with various technologies to continue the education process. And the community has adjusted to wrapping their arms around us at this very critical time.
As our world enters into a season of gratitude and goodwill, we at Sheltering Arms see families every day that are still trying to recover from the pandemic. We are grateful for the supporters in the community who continue to help those in need. Our organization has just wrapped up our Rising Star Holiday Giving Program where participants had the opportunity to donate a toy or become an “Adopting Angel” through our Rising Star Toy Drive and Adopt-A-Family program. This effort was designed to bring hope and holiday cheer to families who need it most. Earlier this year, we partnered with Global Gift Registry, a community-led organization that channels the resources of diverse women to provide essential support to homeless women and families in vulnerable communities. During a three-week giving campaign, Sheltering Arms received diapers, strollers, car seats, learning and school supplies, and household and cleaning supplies, as well as personal hygiene items for males and females. We also teamed up with Helping Mamas, a local baby supply bank that continues to help provide diapers and personal hygiene products for our most-impacted children and families. And we are happy to once again work with Carter’s, a global leader in baby and children’s apparel, which commits every year to making sure each Sheltering Arms student has a brand new pair of cozy pajamas and an age-appropriate book.
Now, we look ahead to a new year with great hope and anticipation. With every experience and every lesson, we learn to become stronger, rise higher and push forward. Our children deserve that.