SOY’s COVID-19 UPDATE (updated 8/10/2020)
We thought by now things would be resolved, but unfortunately, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Because of these trying times, we want to thank all of our donors who have continued to support SOY so that we can support our students and their families. We also want to thank all of our SOY family for your continued commitment to the safety of our students and our local community by staying safe at home.
We are following the orders of the Governor, the CDC, state and local officials and the Newport Mesa Unified School District, and so we have closed the physical SOY Center since March 17th. We will follow the school district’s policy to start the school year online the week of August 24th. Registration will take place for new students the week of August 17th . Please check the calendar on the website for further information.
Since the pandemic started, we have continued to provide support to our SOY students including college counseling, college readiness and online conferences regarding college acceptances, college virtual tours with our SOY alumni, scholarship writing and college application assistance, as well as our career nights—all remotely—via ZOOM. We also provided individual tutoring conferences online.
This summer we also provided writing workshops, financial literacy workshops and a leadership academy for recent graduates to participate in civic engagement and give back to the community. These workshops are ongoing, and these young leaders will be mentors for our current SOY students in the fall.
We are also organizing a career speaker series and a mentor program for our students. Not only have local doctors, nurses, architects and engineers volunteered to mentor students, we also have college students that will be pairing up with seniors to help guide them through the process of getting to college.
SOY’s scholarship program awarded $218,000 in scholarships to our 2020 seniors, 32 of 40 or them going to four-year colleges and universities, including all 9 UCs! Our Senior Awards Night was online, and we are currently holding exit interviews and providing scholarships checks to the college bound SOY students as they register for their classes. We are so proud of them! SOY also gave out $22,500 in emergency grants to current SOY alumni who are attending college and, because of COVID, were having difficulty paying their bills. We are still administering grants.
SOY has also sponsored biweekly food distribution with the help of the Power of One Foundation and volunteers from Trellis. We have also partnered with Share Our Selves to provide gift cards to our families for food, and college bound students, who are First in their Family to go to college, received college goodie bags with laptops. We are also partnering with 211 to provide restaurant prepared meals in the Deliver with Dignity Program to our families who are impacted because of COVID. And we have been partnering with community agencies to plan programs to support the mental health of our teens.
If you are a donor or community partner or a volunteer at SOY or a tutor that would like to continue helping, or if you have any questions about how to still support SOY during this difficult time please contact me at: mary@save-our- youth.org or by my cell: (949) 683-6374.
On behalf of the whole SOY Board of Directors, we thank you for your commitment to the needs of the youth in our community. We wish you and your family health and happiness!
Chair, SOY Board of Directors