With all of the planning going into our newest program on Staten Island, there haven't been too many days to sit back and relax this summer ... which is why I've been looking at my calendar this week with a slight sense of resignation. Somehow, the summer has flown past and it's almost that time of year again - time to wade into shop after shop to find the perfect things to purchase for your kids, scouring the shelves for the exact items on their wish list. And no, I'm not talking about Christmas or the holiday season. I'm talking about back-to-school shopping.
Even while I am bracing myself at the thought of diving into the stresses of a new school year - helped not at all by the continued presence of COVID-19 - I am acutely aware that it is a privilege that my children are able to return to school at all. Many of the young people in our programs across the globe are facing significantly larger challenges to continuing their education.
For the past year and a half, A Chance In Life and our program partners have been working hard to provide our young people with the resources they need to continue school throughout the pandemic. With the support of our donors, we've sent funds for internet top up cards (pictured above) to Bolivia and Peru so parents can use their cell phones to access their children's homework. (For an interview with a family sharing one cell phone between three children, you can revisit our En Primera Persona videos here. We've provided laptops and installed internet routers for our girls in Colombia (pictured below), and sent a number of tablets to our programs in India.
As the pandemic and lockdowns continue, however, so does our young people's need for academic tools and support to continue remote learning. Given the alarming report last month that rising poverty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could force at least 9.7 million children out of school forever by the end of this year1, we are fiercely determined that this will not be the fate of the youth we serve.
We hope you will join us in this commitment and consider adding a few supplies for our youth to your own fall shopping list. Whether you can donate $5 for an internet top up card for our Latin American programs or $500 to provide cell phones to our young women in Kerala, any amount is appreciated and makes a difference in the lives of these children.
Yours in gratitude,
President & Executive Director