Our Programs Have Gone Virtual!

Categories: Advocacy, Blog

While our doors remain closed, we’re still #OnAMission and are staying engaged with our program participants and doing our best to provide virtual resources and support to the community. Here’s how:

ESL Provides Online Courses

Beginning on March 30th, our ESL program transitioned all ESL Consortium courses to a virtual format. This includes several courses ranging from Beginners to Level 4. The classes are being opened up to non-consortium based students as well. Courses are following the same schedule as prior to the COVID crisis, including daytime and evening sessions. Our goal is to accommodate students who are essential workers, including those employed at healthcare facilities or distribution centers.       

The program consists of online reading and listening exercises, homework assignments, weekly journals, and web-based video lessons. Students use an online platform that tracks time when working on multilevel worksheets and workbook activities. They practice their spoken language skills via the video conference platform Zoom, which allows all students and the teacher to see one another in real time. “The students were all so happy when they got to see each other in their virtual classroom;” says ESL Director Heledona Katro “it was a great time of bonding while practicing social distancing.” Students get additional spoken language practice by recording video presentations to submit to their teacher.  

To ensure they are providing the best quality education possible, our ESL teachers are receiving special training on web-based instruction. The students’ participation is tracked by their class attendance, participation, performance on homework assignments, and the online platforms. Unit tests will be administered. Program Director Heledona Katro submits weekly reports to the Mercer County ESL Consortium Lead. We are currently looking at adding more online classes to enable all students to complete the curriculum for the spring semester.

Child Development Center Stays Connected

Through our parent newsletter and social media, our incredible staff has provided essential resources and activities for keeping our pre-school aged children learning at home. With our commitment to Social Emotional Learning, we were sure to emphasize S.E.L. Day, which took place March 27th. You may remember Kidsbridge for providing our anti-bullying workshop series last May. They are posting daily activities lasting 10-45 minutes for parents and children to do at home. These activities are shared via their Facebook and Twitter, and are being offered at no cost throughout the COVID crisis.

April 13-17th is the annual Week of the Young Child (WOYC). Although we will not be together, we have encouraged families to share how they are celebrating at home, as well as any special moments throughout the week to our Facebook. #ywcdcprinceton #woyc20. For more information about WOYC visit NAEYC.

Let’s not forget Earth Day, April 22, 2020! We have encouraged families to celebrate this day by taking young children for a walk in nature, to work in the garden, or make art projects out of recycled items. Staff shared National Geographic Kids, which has excellent ideas. We also asked families to share their day with us on Facebook. #ywcdcprinceton #earthday2020

Finally, music lifts our spirits! Miss Jen, our CDC music teacher, is currently preparing music videos, which will be available next week for parents and children to enjoy together. Singing and clapping along are encouraged!  

Breast Cancer Resource Center Remains a Crucial Lifeline

Social distancing means physical distancing, not disconnection. Proof of this – our support groups are staying more connected than ever through Zoom, the web based video conference platform. Last week, Coping and Beyond had their first online meeting. “They were very happy to see each other’s faces. We had a lot of laughs, and we shared our concerns and fears as cancer survivors during this pandemic,” says Melissa White, Director of the Breast Cancer Resource Center. The group agreed to meet weekly, a big increase from the usual monthly meeting, to help each other cope during this difficult time. 

In addition to support groups, weekly online Open Sessions are available for our clients seeking specific resources or information from program staff. These sessions will also feature guest speakers, including area oncologists, who will provide information about staying safe from COVID-19 for cancer patients and survivors, and similar topics. They will also provide time for a question and answer session with participants. 

Offering much some much needed peace in this chaotic time, our Mindful Moments group is also holding weekly online meetings. An instructor leads participants through various forms of meditation, sometimes a poetry hour, and other centering practices. It is a popular group and is seeing increased demand during this crisis.

In addition to the above, our Breast Cancer Resource Center is currently working to bring other web-based programming to our patients and survivors. In the mean time, all our BCRC members continue to remain connected and share resources through our main BCRC Facebook page.

Perhaps most importantly, looking out for the physical health and safety of our constituents, our BCRC staff reached out to Just Make It Sew and Gifted Robbinsville, who together contributed 25 homemade protective facemasks. The masks are sprayed with Lysol and sealed in plastic bags. Masks are essential to cancer patients or recent survivors, as chemotherapy renders patients immuno-compromised for some time during and after treatment. If you know of a cancer patient or survivor who needs a mask, please contact jhutton@ywcaprinceton.org and we will arrange for secure pickup. 

Stand Against Racism

We are planning to hold our annual Thought Provoking Talks in an online format. Stay tuned for more details.

The 2020 Census

Now more than ever, we see the importance of being counted so vital public resources are properly allocated to our communities. We challenge you to complete your census and post your census selfie to our YWCA Princeton Facebook page! #2020Census #YourVoiceMatters #YWomenCount

Complete your #2020Census online at www.my2020census.gov     

Or by phone:

Kreyòl Ayisien….844-477-2020