We are better together

The challenges facing our communities, our nation, and the world in this moment are extraordinary. Like everyone, we at GO are anticipating that the coming months will be a period of learning and adjusting for our team and families and educators across the nation. There are elements of our work that can, should, and will continue. But there are places where all of us will need to be responsive to the emergent needs of the communities we call home. And while we don’t know what is ahead in many ways, we do know that we are stronger when we all row in the same direction and support one another.

To that end, here is a peek into where we are now and where we are going:

Community Engagement Going Virtual

Engaging families, educators, and community members is a core part of our work at GO, and something we usually accomplish through in-person meetings and trainings. 

Prior to the latest health and safety restrictions, we were excited to see members of our Family Leaders Action Group (FLAG) in West Contra Costa prepare to run their own Family Leadership Programs (FLPs) at select school sites in Hercules, San Pablo, and Richmond. Likewise, our Fresno team was in the middle of running three FLP cohorts before deciding to cease in-person sessions. 

The recent shelter-in-place mandates may have forced our teams to rethink how we engage, but our commitment to developing family leaders is unwavering. As such, we are already convening our FLAG members virtually in both West Contra Costa and Fresno, and are exploring ways to pilot ongoing family leadership programming online.

In Oakland, our volunteer campaign teams working on OUSD budget transparency/ accountability and district/charter equity issues are also moving to virtual engagement and activities.

Advocacy Efforts Continue 

In the midst of the new challenges facing our communities, we will continue to drive toward our North Star of reaching a day when all children, regardless of skin color, family income, home language, or neighborhood, are prepared to succeed in our rapidly evolving world. This need is more clear now than ever. 

We are:

  • Garnering support for a resolution to equitably expand dual enrollment in Fresno 
  • Deepening already-significant efforts in Oakland to answer questions about school quality and OUSD’s financial sustainability, and weighing in on other timely issues 
  • Continuing conversations about college readiness in West Contra Costa and working with our family leaders to identify other pressing needs

We recognize that this work will have to shift and change over the weeks and months to fit our current reality, but we are dedicated to doing all we can to keep pushing toward solutions in support of California’s young people.

Sharing High-Quality Information and Resources 

As today’s news often becomes obsolete in a matter of hours, sharing current, relevant information with our networks in FresnoOakland, and West Contra Costa is a key priority. Our social media channels have become a go-to source to learn about community services like meal distributions, free internet access, local efforts to assist families whose employment has been affected by COVID-19, and relief for undocumented families

And, like so many of you, we are focused on supporting parents and caregivers as they navigate this time with children out of school. So many incredible organizations have stepped up to provide virtual learning resources for students of all ages, and we are doing our part to expand the reach of those links and tips.  We are especially thankful to organizations like Families In SchoolsTranscendEmerson CollectiveEducation Reimagined, and New Schools for offering our communities curated lists of resources for parents and educators.  

Over the coming weeks, our teams will also be researching answers to some of the difficult questions raised by members of our communities (look for next week’s email about the impact of school closures on high school students). Though we are all learning together, we hope to provide some much-needed clarity during these difficult times.

Amplifying Causes that Need Support

Many of you have reached out, asking how you can support assistance efforts in our communities. The organizations we’ve listed below are providing relief in a variety of ways, and I encourage you to consider making a donation. 

Tech Exchange (Oakland): A staple in the Oakland nonprofit ecosystem, Tech Exchange works to ensure all families in Oakland have computers and access to the internet. As we dive into virtual learning over the next weeks (or months), let’s make sure every child has what they need to thrive. 

REACH Relief Fund (Oakland): While many of us are worried about stockpiling toilet paper and keeping our kids entertained, learning, and healthy, many Oakland families are worried about affording rent and paying for food, utilities, and other basic necessities. The Oakland REACH is focused on getting support quickly to the most vulnerable families. The first $10,000 in donations will be matched. 

United Way (Fresno/Madera Counties): The United Way has set up a Coronavirus Relief Fund to help families with rent, housing, food, utilities, and other related expenses. The relief fund also provides services to workers impacted by COVID-19 closures.

West Contra Costa Public Education Fund (West Contra Costa): The EdFund in West Contra Costa has launched a drive to provide support for groceries, internet services, and other emergency needs that help stabilize families during this crisis.

As we continue to monitor this situation, we are committed to doing all we can to support members of our network and the broader community. We hope that, during this unprecedented time, we are able to find innovative ways to come together and celebrate the incredible heroes in our own backyards. Stay safe and healthy and we will be in touch soon.

In community, 

Jonathan Klein, Co-Founder and CEO

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