COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund: our work with high school and college students
By Lauren Priest, program associate, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
As businesses and public places have begun to reopen, schools and students are still making very difficult decisions about what the fall will look like for them, facing the reality that COVID-19 will be affecting our region for at least the next few months.
When the dangers of COVID-19 became clear to schools in March, many closed very unexpectedly, giving students, families and even teachers and administrators little opportunity to plan. College students were stranded across the country, some with no access to housing, food or other necessities. Many students lacked access to classes that were suddenly completely internet-based, and many had to complete summer courses or delay graduation due to an inability to complete their spring semester. Students from pre-kindergarten to high school were suddenly confined to their homes. Sports, extracurricular activities, proms and graduation ceremonies were cancelled. And the future was unclear.
From the inception of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, we knew that education funding had to be a priority. Since March, we have funded more than 50 organizations focused on education for a total of over $2.8 million. Through these grants, students and their families have been given laptops and tablets, access to the internet, food, emergency assistance funds for things like rental and utility payments and telehealth access.
As schools begin to start classes again, high school and college students now must decide what their futures hold within our “new normal.” Nonprofit organizations are continuing to provide high-quality mentorship, tutoring, college and career counseling, and other resources to high school and college students, youth, young adults and their families as they cope with the interruptions COVID-19 has caused. Many have even expanded services to meet the new and exacerbated needs of students.
Some of the organizations we have supported are doing innovative work worth noting to support high school and college students, including Atlanta CARES Mentoring Movement, College AIM, Leap Year, Raising Expectations, The Scholarship Academy and Usher’s New Look. You can read about what each organization is doing on our blog.
Feature photo courtesy of Marietta City Schools.