Here is the BSA weekly caregiver newsletter for week of 3/23-3/27:

Announcement #1:                                 A Message from the Director of Social Work

Dear BSA Families and Caregivers,

I hope this email finds you and your loved ones healthy during these unprecedented times. These days can be challenging and stressful for adults and children alike, and it can be hard to know what to say, and how much information to share with kids without being scary. While there are no “right” answers to these questions, we would like to share some pointers that we hope may help:

Talk to Kids and Answer their Questions:

Teens typically worry about what’s unknown; having information can help them feel safe. Talk to your kids in age appropriate ways, and encourage them to speak to you about their thoughts, questions, and worries. Some children may not want to open up about their feelings; let them know that’s okay, and if they change their mind, you’ll be there whenever they need you. Be honest with your kids when they ask you questions, but don’t share more information than they ask for or tell them more than they need to know.

 Stay Calm:

Kids are sponges and pick up on everything around them. Do your best to take care of yourself, and manage your own worries and anxiety so you can be there for your kids. Use the strategies that work best to relieve your stress. This might be listening to music, binge watching TV, going outside for a walk or run (at a healthy distance from others), meditation, or dancing. Have your kids join you if they can, and encourage them to identify what helps them feel calm.

Maintain Structure and Routine:

Create and maintain a daily routine at home and stick to consistent bedtimes, mealtimes, and healthy meals. While it may seem like fun at first to spend all day in pajamas, over time this may increase kids’ sense of chaos. Developing and maintaining structure helps sustain a sense of normalcy and predictability.

Work Together to Complete Edgenuity:

Include time on Edgenuity as part of your daily plans. We don’t expect you to become a high school science or math, but we encourage you to learn more about the class assignments your child has been given on Edgenuity. It is our online learning platform and there can be moments when you learn and work side by side with your child. This helps to increase their engagement and also gives you a unique glimpse into what they are expected to do. Here is the link to Edgenuity: https://www.edgenuity.com/login/

There are also demos for parents to study as well:

https://help.edgenuity.com/Classroom_Resources/Parent_Resources/Introduction_for_Parents

Focus on Safety and Good Habits:

Remind children that they are safe and that there are doctors and scientists working to keep us and our communities safe. Tell them what they can do to keep themselves, their families and members of their communities healthy (for example, washing hands with soap for 20 seconds, sneezing into their elbows, and maintaining physical distance between themselves and other). Emphasizing what they have control over helps empower kids and lets them know there are still things they have control over when so much feels unknown and scary.

Limit Access to News and Social Media:

This is important for everyone, as constantly watching the news can increase anxiety. Some experts recommend adults limit their news consumption to a few short windows a day, and not look at social media for an hour before bed. With kids, it’s always important to keep a watchful eye on their media use, and it may be best to limit social media intake to eliminate exposure to rumors or any information that may be upsetting to them. Monitor the amount of time children and teens are spending watching or reading the news, and their responses. If they become upset, turn it off and limit their exposure for a day or two.

Stay Connected to Loved Ones:

Use your technology to keep in touch with people you love despite social distancing. Some ideas: daily calls with grandparents, “dinner dates” with friends on FaceTime, older kids reading books to younger friends, etc.


Spend Quality Time:

Try and use this time to enjoy being with your family. With all the unknowns, the connections between caregivers and children help everyone feel safe, secure and loved. Go outside for walks and hikes, break out the board games, try out new recipes, have movie nights, do art projects, or any other creative ideas you and your kids can come up with. We don’t know what’s happening next, but we can do our best to use these moments to connect and be with our kids.

Below are a few resources.
Please reach out to me any time at this e-mail address, which I am monitoring closely.

Best, and be well,
Meredith

Announcement #2:                                          Mental Health Services

  • Please reference the attachment to this email for mental health service providers and clinics by borough.
  • In addition, University Settlement is continuing to conduct intakes and offer services.

o   Our Intake Department is open during usual office hours:  9am – 7pm Monday – Thursday; 9am – 5pm Friday and 9am – 3:30pm Saturdays. The Intake number is 212.453.4522. Our intake staff speak Spanish, Chinese and English. Intakes and ongoing services will available via telephone so mental health clients can use the idea of “facetime” as a reference in terms of what to expect. We are using a HIPAA complaint platform to offer video services that is very user friendly and clients can easily access through their phone w/o downloading an app, etc. We can also do simple phone sessions for clients that prefer.  Our psychiatry services are also available. Our two psychiatrists are both child and adolescent board certified and thus can serve both child and adults. Dr. Liu, our Medical Director, speaks Chinese.

o   If you have questions, I can connect you with the director of the clinic.

 

Expensify

Expensify.org is going to temporarily redirect all of its charitable funds to Expensify.org/hunger. With its ability to reimburse volunteers directly in real-time, Expensify.org is uniquely positioned to help families in need immediately by matching SNAP grocery purchases up to $50 per family. It works like this:

  1. Purchase food as normal with your SNAP card
  2. Download Expensify on iOS or Android, for free
  3. Join the Expensify.org/hunger policy
  4. SmartScan the receipt, which will tell us how much you paid and show that it was paid for with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card
  5. Submit it to Volunteer@expensify.org
  6. Set up your bank account to receive the funds
  7. So long as we have funds available, we will reimburse up to $50 per family (one time), the very next day.

To be clear, we can’t commit to reimbursing every single person in need — we have no idea how many people will do this, and unfortunately, we don’t have unlimited funds. We also don’t know how long this crisis will last and how far our brand new charity’s resources will stretch. But we’re going to do what we can with the funds donated on behalf of Expensify Cardholders via the Karma Points feature, as well as by the extremely generous donors who have signed up for our Corporate and Personal Karma programs.

Additional Resources

Please see the additional resource lists attached to this email. If you need more support or referrals, please do not hesitate to reach out.

 Announcement #3:                                   Links to important resources

Resources:

  • During this unprecedented crisis many organizations are still operating and taking care of their neighbors. Several that are making sure New Yorkers don’t go hungry are listed here: Soup Kitchens & Food Pantries by Borough
  • Working on a research project, or just looking for something interesting to read? The New York Public Library has made many items and resources available online. Follow this link for details:
    New York Public Library Digital Resources
  • NYCDOE is providing up to three free school meals each day at 400 locations throughout the city. Follow this link for more information : Free School Meals
  • We are making regular updates to our COVID-19 webpage as it relates to the remote operation of BSA. Please check in regularly at our website for updates as our situation is constantly changing:
    BSA COVID-19 updates

Announcement #4:                               Recommended reading from the Head of School

Check out this link to articles recommended by our Head of School:

18 New York Times Articles You Should Read Before You Turn 18

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions

Jose Peralta
Caregiver Liaison
Broome Street Academy Charter High School
121 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
P: (212) 453-0295 ext. 3240
C: (646) 581-2102
F: (212) 966-7253