Bringing Hope During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Managing the homeschooling and the on-going reality of the COVID-19 situation is very difficult for anyone who has school aged children. Marlena is taking on this task alone, as her deeply depressed husband took his own life a few years ago. Does a family ever totally recover from such a tragedy? Marlena is especially tuned-in to the signs of depression and her eleven-year-old son, Marco, is not faring well with the social isolation that has come from this pandemic. Marlena is worried and scared, as any mother would be. She has insurance but cannot find a psychiatrist that will accept their insurance. She found her way to Young & Healthy’s website and sent an email. Recognizing this as an extremely urgent situation, the Young & Healthy case managers took quick action. It was not an easy task, but they were able to find a psychiatrist that would provide the care that Marco needs. Where there is pain, Young & Healthy strives to bring hope. We are grateful that Marco’s mom took her son’s symptoms seriously and we wish them all the best for healing.
COVID-19 hasn’t changed EVERYTHING
So much has changed in the last few weeks and our collective heads are spinning. Young & Healthy, like so much of the world, is working remotely and trying to find new and creative ways to serve the community.
But so much of what makes us “Young & Healthy” hasn’t actually changed at all. We are still moved by the plight of a single child and their family situation and we are still in the company of incredibly generous providers and community members. For example, when a child recently had a toothache and every dental office was closed, one of our empathetic volunteer dentists opened her office to care for the little boy.
With schools closed, we know that families will have trouble accessing care, so we created an outreach effort to get the word out that Young & Healthy is still available to help. To communicate this to families, we collected more than 3000 donated toothbrushes and paste to create oral health outreach kits with information on how to reach Young & Healthy. These kits were distributed through the PUSD free lunch program.
During this COVID crises, children and teens in our community are finding school work and on-line therapy nearly impossible because they lack a set of headphones for privacy and/or to be able to focus. When Young & Healthy learned about this digital divide, we launched a headphone donation campaign.
Some of the most impacted families in our community need diapers and formula for their babies, so we are now collecting those items.
There is continued need for masks and gloves for both the PUSD food workers on the front lines and the hospital. More than 5000 personal protective items have been donated to Young & Healthy and we have redistributed them.
Indeed, this pandemic is awful and yet, we are witnesses to so much kindness and generosity. Young & Healthy has always been proud to be a “barrier remover” so that children have a better shot at a healthier life. Some of the barriers have changed, but we are still here to knock them down.
Be well, stay well.
Changing a Generation
Young & Healthy is passionately involved in teaching our community about brain science. Why? Science shows us that healthy brain development is the foundation from which our long-term health and well-being is built. Healthy families produce healthy children and healthy children, of course, become healthy adults…generation after generation after generation.
If you could peek into a parent education series provided by Young & Healthy, you would see discussions on attachment, social emotional learning, self-regulation, helping children thrive socially and academically and WHY it is so important to connect and have fun as a family.
By planting the brain health seeds now, families will foster their family “garden” and eventually see the “harvest” of healthy children. What we cannot see, but know to be true, is the effects a healthy brain and a nurturing family can have on the grandchildren of the moms and dads who come to our classes. We are building a healthier future one family at a time.
Serving the Most Vulnerable
Isn’t it enough that Rosie comes from a home where domestic violence is common? Isn’t it enough that Rosie and her mom sometimes find themselves homeless? Each of these situations, alone, is more than enough trauma and stress for any 13-year-old to bear. However, poor Rosie has even more going on in her life—she is understandingly depressed and her teeth hurt.
While Rosie’s school is working on the really big issues of homelessness and domestic violence, Young & Healthy can be of service by providing mental health and dental care services. Rosie’s overall health has been so severely compromised that it has taken three different Young & Healthy volunteer dentists to provide her care!
Life is hard for Rosie and her mom, but thankfully Young & Healthy is available to offer them hope and needed healthcare along their journey.
The Kids Are Stuck in the Middle
We all know that a divorce can be ugly and unfair. It is especially difficult when children get stuck in the middle of grown up battles. As much as Karina, a mother of three children, wants to get her children insured, she is stymied by an ex-husband who is withholding financial information that is needed in order to qualify the children for Medi-Cal. This is a tough case to sort out, but the Young & Healthy team will stay on it until the situation is resolved. In the meantime, we will rely on our network of 350 volunteer doctors to keep these children healthy. We cannot fix what is broken between these two parents, but we can provide compassionate care to the children and be sure that their medical needs are met.