Dear BUILD Family,
As the COVID-19 crisis deepens and we figure out how to continue our work in this new reality, BUILD has been returning to our core values: empathy, persistence, innovation, and passion.
Empathy for our shared communities and families, people of all ages already living on razor-thin margins being asked to stretch further, for those still facing losses to violence. We understand the powerful instinct to be together and support one another – we feel it too. But BUILD has always been here to save lives, and right now, that means being strict about not gathering in person.
But this does not at all mean we have disengaged or disappeared. Quite the opposite. Persistence means not giving up when faced with challenges, and Innovation has driven us to find new ways to connect with our community: reassuring our young people that we are still here, creating virtual spaces that help them still feel loved, supported, and safe. Every member of our staff has been working furiously this past week to move BUILD’s programs online and give our youth access.
- All of our prevention, intervention, and educational mentors have been connecting individually with their youth on phones, messaging, social media and video platforms.
- Our clinical therapists are working on continuing care remotely while still protecting privacy.
- While our crisis response and violence intervention teams are not responding in person, they are very active virtually: reaching out to families, keeping people on the phone, staying in close contact with the neighborhood and law enforcement for referrals and follow-up. It is hard for them not to run into fires, but too many of our community households contain multiple generations - they know they have others to keep safe.
- All of our programs are building ways to engage and interact with their young people and their families online - from daily art projects to journaling prompts, InstaHubs to group chats, yoga videos to online games, virtual galleries - even livestreamed talent shows.
Our last core value is Passion, and I promise you that we are bringing that same tireless dedication to everything we do. We will share what we can - stay tuned here and on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter channels! We don’t pretend to know what our future holds, and we will continue to be virtual as long as schools are closed - but we know we will never stop fighting to make our communities safe. Thank you for your support, and let’s stay in touch. In peace.
Adam M. Alonso, CEO