Dear Supporters of Humanities Amped,
We hope that you are finding ways to stay safe and care for yourself and your family during this unusual time, and we want let you know that the Humanities Amped team has been hard at work planning and designing opportunities for our youth to stay connected and academically engaged even as we socially distance. Our commitment to advance transformative learning through human connection, civic engagement, and youth voice matters now more than ever, and we are excited to share with you the ways that we are continuing to honor those values!
Our first step during the week of March 16th was to survey the youth we serve. Based on nearly one hundred responses thus far, we've learned:
We also held several online "listening sessions" to give our community a place to check in and express their needs and ideas in person (well, in virtual person). Based on this information gathering, we are setting up the following responses at this time:
Online Healing Circles for Youth Online “Circle Families” of ten Baton Rouge public school youth and at least two Humanities Amped staff or adult volunteers have begun meeting this week! With the support of certified peer specialist Tonja Myles, these groups will meet twice a week online to provide an outlet for youth to be in community with one another and trusted adults.
Online Arts, Civic Engagement, and College Access Workshop Series
This week we will begin enrolling Baton Rouge public school youth in workshops focusing on civic engagement, college access, and the arts. These workshops are designed collaboratively between youth, adult staff, and Amped Instructional Specialist Destiny Cooper, and, like circles, will meet either once or twice a week online.
Referral to Resources and Crisis Intervention We have begun reaching out to youth who indicated that they have pressing material needs and are helping those youth and their households to find and navigate available resources. We know from our experience working with youth year-round that young people are more likely to disclose needs and ask for help when they are connected in a network of trusting relationships, so we are preparing to support youth as those needs arise. We will also work with community partners to identify gaps in resources that we hear from youth and advocate for those needs to be filled by other community agencies.
As we roll out this programming in response to COVID-19, we will work with a wide network of educators, volunteers, youth, and community partners to be emergent and responsive to the needs of our Humanities Amped youth: our central focus remains ensuring that our students experience connection and engagement in healthy communities that can support their needs for development and well-being.
If you know any young people who would benefit from this engaging new programming, direct them to the registration form on our website (we have a great list of resources there, too). Don’t delay--circle spots are filling up and workshops begin next week!
As always, if you would like to support our work financially, please visit the support page on our website.
Be sure to stay connected by following us on social media, and be on the lookout for our showcase of student work!