Dr. Emilie DeYoung, Winning at Home, Inc.
It’s no secret that this past year has ushered in significant changes for folks around the world. Not one area of the globe has been immune to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many of us have developed new understandings of words like ‘lock down,’ ‘Zoom,’ ‘virtual learning,’ or ‘quarantine.’ Working in the mental health field for 25 years, I have never seen anything like the emotional or mental health devastation among kids and families like I have witnessed in the past six months. Isolation, Zoom fatigue, and constant change have fostered depression and anxiety at alarming rates not only among adults, but among our youth as well. For many, hope for the future has been replaced by an expectation of disappointment. So. Many. Tears.
In the midst of this, individuals and communities have strengthened their resolve to make a difference. I am inspired by local colleagues who are carrying the torch for suicide prevention, strengthening families, and spreading hope. There is an underlying current that communicates that we are stronger together. In fact, our communities need their members like never before. To that end, Kids Hope USA offers an opportunity for you to make a difference. In partnership with schools and churches, mentors create bridges to hope for youth who are feeling alone and expendable. A weekly connection provides something for students to look forward to: a human, one-on-one connection in the midst of isolation. When this connection happens, students begin to realize that they matter. Someone cares enough to check in with them. The little things that may be overlooked by others can be held dear by their mentor. And even when physically apart, there is someone who can hold them in their mind. While this connection might look different than in previous years, there has never been a better time to invest in the life of a child.
After partnering with Kids Hope for the past eight years, I can promise that the life of the child is not the only life impacted by this partnership – the life of the mentor is transformed in a positive way as well!