“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you thought you could not do before.” -Rahm Emanuel
COVID-19 First Hits: A Recap
When schools closed in March, CORRAL pivoted to all virtual programming in order to keep staff, volunteers, and families safe. Hear from our staff in this short video how we accomplished that. In total, we provided 455 hours of virtual programming during the stay-at-home order:
- 71 telehealth (virtual therapy & healthy living) sessions
- 56 virtual tutoring support sessions
- 17 peer connection calls
- 75+ hours of 1-1 equine relationship sessions
During the pandemic, the high-risk situations our girls were already facing became magnified. The girls lost the consistency and stability that schools provided. And, for some of our girls, CORRAL was their only safe place. For many of our girls, they didn’t have access to the technology, hot spots, nor WiFi that virtual learning demanded. So, they began to fall behind until we stepped in to help close those gaps.
We decided not to let the pandemic further widen the educational gap our girls were falling into. So, we hosted a summer remediation program, focusing on math and literacy remediation and meeting with the girls for nine hours each week. Based on baseline and post-program assessments, our girls grew an average of three grade levels in their reading skills. In math, they mastered their multiples for the first time and built confidence in their own problem-solving skills. Our rockstar volunteer tutors helped make this happen!
ABC11 recently released a 30-minute special, The Racial Divide: Inequity in Education, which highlights issues, including systemic injustices, the digital divide, and the adultification bias of Black girls. The solution ABC11 suggested to this complex issue is academic support, mental health support, and donating to organizations that are working directly to close the widening educational gap. As a community, we are providing this exact solution.
ABC11 defined equity as everyone getting what they need based on their individual situations versus equality where everyone gets the same treatment. For our girls who come from high-risk situations, lack access to WiFi or laptops, and have been marginalized in every institution, equality simply isn’t enough.
This is why we have increased our services by 185 percent to ensure that they don’t fall through the cracks during this extremely susceptible time. For a teenage girl who has faced trauma, consistency, stability, and support are non-negotiables, which led us to create homeschool pods for our Riding Academy girls. The girls are thrilled to have recently hired Education Manager J’naya Marville leading the homeschool pods during the 40 hours they spend at CORRAL each week. They are focusing on schoolwork, math and literacy remediation, mental health, vocational training, college readiness, mindfulness, farm chores, and horse time whether that’s equine therapy or relationship development. Take a virtual tour of the beautiful environment she’s created to help foster learning, growth, and motivation!
In return to providing these homeschool pods, which allow the girls’ caretakers to focus on work, we ask our girls and their families to commit to their futures, the program, and CORRAL’s core values. This week, we’re focusing on high expectations and accountability. We set high expectations for their academic success because we recognize that education has the power to open doors, change circumstances, and provide a future of independence and self-sufficiency. And, we believe that accountability creates safety and is an important prerequisite for transformational change.
How Can You Help Empower CORRAL’s 20-21 Girls?
The girls are thriving. Before the pandemic, they would arrive at CORRAL after school and completely drained. Now that they are with us for 40 hours a week, we can provide counseling, support, healing and tutoring throughout the day in the moment when they need it most of all! A parent recently said, “COVID was the best thing that happened to our family because [girl’s name protected for confidentiality] is finally getting what she specifically needs.”
As of now, we are looking for pantry and fridge donations at our Kildaire Farm Campus to keep our girls fed, as many of them come from food-insecure families. We are providing them with nutritious breakfast and lunch options to fuel their brains for healthy development. You can also support our programming by donating here and knowing that your gifts are making a direct impact toward a critical issue. Thank you so much! CORRAL would be merely a vision without the support of our community to help see our dreams come true.
P.s. If you know someone struggling with virtual schooling, a parent or child, send them this free Virtual Schooling Support Toolkit. It has recordings and helpful PDFs from our Virtual Schooling community series earlier this fall.