To say that children and teens are struggling emotionally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is an understatement. For many children in our community, schools are their safe havens, friends are their allies, and adult role models like teachers and coaches are their lifelines. Suddenly and unexpectedly, youth have found themselves cut off from what they’ve come to rely on.
For young people, this is a time of confusion, chaos, internal and external turmoil. It’s times like these when mentoring relationships youth have with those outside their home are more important than ever.
But what does mentoring look like when physical –distancing and stay-at-home orders keep Mentees and their Mentors from their usual activities like taking walks and cooking together?
Mentors in The Next Door’s Gorge Youth Mentoring (GYM) program are getting creative to continue to support their Mentees through this very difficult time:
Mailing weekly care packages with games, puzzles, craft supplies, and healthy snacks to Mentees and their families.
Art projects over video chat.
Video chat make-up tutorials where the Mentee teaches the Mentor how to perfectly apply winged eyeliner.
Exercising together over video chat.
Throughout these interactions, Mentors offer a listening ear, a supportive word, and just a little consistency and stability amid the uncertainty that’s happening around us.
If you’ve thought about becoming a Mentor, now is the time. There are currently 25 children and teens in Wasco, Hood River, and Klickitat counties on the GYM waitlist. Some of these youth have been waiting for longer than a year. All of them need someone like you to talk to, count on, and share activities with — even if it’s from afar.