Children in New York were deeply affected by the transition to virtual schooling, lack of community broadband access, and increased social isolation during the course of the pandemic. In Nassau and Suffolk counties, long stays at home with minimal social interaction and access to proper nutrition negatively impacted youth development and overall wellness.
In response to the learning and social losses that have accrued from school closings and quarantine lifestyles, Children’s Hope India (CHI) launched a remote learning initiative to improve health outcomes for low-income, underserved children across Long Island.
We were honored to award CHI’s Every Child’s Health Counts: A Remote Learning Initiative with a grant to support launching this work with 2,500 students.
The digital wellness curriculum provides students with direct access to peers to help combat isolation and loneliness, as well as to social-emotional learning to equip students with the tools and skills needed to meet new mental health stressors, and physical education, such as dance, yoga, and martial arts.
Students also have access to educational programming about food, nutrition, and healthy eating habits. As a volunteer-driven organization, CHI distributed tablets to students in the community to extend access and participation.
Spaces for students to learn, grow and interact with others, even if virtual, are critical to their overall well-being during this time of change and uncertainty. As New York continues to wade through the public health crisis, community programming like CHI’s virtual wellness initiative will ensure youth don’t fall behind.