According to Just Say YES Founder/President Dan Bailey,
The Just Say YES (Youth Equipped to Succeed) mission of, “growing value and vision in youth by combating isolation and imparting hope,” is essential now more than ever to help students, parents/guardians and educators navigate these uncharted waters brought on by COVID-19.
School districts across North Texas have started to announce their 2020 fall semester plans; the majority deferring to online learning at the start of school. The pandemic has presented numerous challenges for our education system, including:
- Students are living in isolation; a mental health crisis is emerging as many students have lost access to services, and for some safety, that were provided by schools. Their lives have been disrupted; restricted from any in-person interaction vital to the development of their social-emotional needs. The primary issue is: How do we help our students recover and stay on track mentally, emotionally and academically throughout the upcoming school year?
- Educators are forced to teach in a new digital world; they are facing multiple barriers such as technology roadblocks, lack of online platform education and support, etc.
- Parents and guardians are overwhelmed; trying to balance work, child and self-care. Some are event struggling to provide the technology and internet necessary for their child’s education.
Through our campus contacts we have learned there is urgency for virtual programs to help support their student’s social-emotional learning needs. We are adapting quickly in response, taking our in-person and live programs virtual in this new digital-learning landscape.
We are currently professionally recording 56 of our wellness education and motivational experiences programs. These pre-recorded programs will allow school personnel to share powerful messages of health and hope with their K-12th grade students, covering a variety of topics: mental health, bullying, overcoming adversity, drug and alcohol abuse, social media safety, etc. Parent/guardian programs are also available in all content areas of our student programs; supporting them as well during these times of uncertainty.
ur newly updated peer-to-peer mentoring program curriculum is also being finalized, and is designed to be implemented either in-person or virtually. This year-long program especially values the importance of providing social-emotional learning opportunities to middle and high school students, positively impacting their attitude, academics and behavior. Some of the important topics our student mentors and mentees learn throughout the duration of the program include: goal setting, self-control, healthy relationships, positive communication, determination, college and career opportunities, bullying prevention, refusal skills, healthy boundaries, and most importantly, the power of a mentor.
At Just Say YES, we believe, “A connected student is a protected student.™” It is our hope that we can continue to help hundreds of thousands of students in North Texas make healthy and positive connections with their peers, parents/guardians and educators.
We are seeking $75,000 to help fund Phase 1 of the transition to digital programs (professional recording and editing, studio time, video host platforms, and implementation/distribution to schools).
On behalf of the students, parents/guardians and educators we serve, thank you for saying YES to youth. We are grateful for your support!
To donate, please visit www.justsayyes.org/donate
* Graphic and photo provided by Just Say YES