COVID-19 Announcement

Here at Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence (BBBSI), our top priority is always the health and well-being of our Littles, Bigs, Staff, Board Members and Supporters.

We are closely monitoring the spread and impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) within the communities we serve in Southeastern PA and Southern NJ. We must all join together in the effort to reduce the spread of the virus in our communities and protect those we serve.

To protect the safety of our BBBSI community, we have recently taken the following actions:

  • Closed our PA (Philadelphia, Norristown, Exton) and NJ (Cherry Hill) offices until further notice and allowed BBBSI staff to work remotely.
  • Moved volunteer interviews and information sessions to a virtual format.
  • Moved agency meetings with external partners to a virtual format.
  • Postponed or canceled all BBBSI public events and match activities scheduled during the months of March, April, and May.
  • Suspended all school-based mentoring programs for the remainder of this school year.
  • Advised Bigs and Littles in our community-based mentoring programs to avoid in-person match outings until further notice and instead communicate via text, phone calls, and emails.
  • Postponed the MENTOR Independence Region 5th Anniversary Celebration and moved MENTOR IR meetings and trainings to a virtual format.

We will continue to provide general updates to our Bigs, Families, Partners and Supporters through the following communications channels:

  • Periodic agency email communications
  • Social media postings

Below is a current list of our recommended sources for accurate and timely information on COVID-19 updates for both PA and NJ:

We want to ensure the continuity of our business operations and we want to do so thoughtfully. Federal, state, and local governments and public health departments continue to provide additional recommendations to curtail activity. We will adhere to additional recommendations and safety precautions as they come.

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Helpful Resources

Philadelphia Public Schools released a list of 30 meal pickup locations for families who depend on school-provided breakfast and lunch service while schools are closed.

To better enable you to speak about COVID-19 with the young people in your life, including your children and your Little, check out the following resources:

  • Child Mind Institute: “Kids worry more when they are kept in the dark,” this site provides concise information for adults to remember and help with talking to youth about Coronavirus.
  • BrainPop.com: Short 4 minute video for younger kids that can help explain the virus (it provides good facts to everyone else, too).
  • NPR: Good comic that can be shared online, but also printed as a zine which shares facts that are easy to understand.

To make hand washing and social distancing a little more bearable, consider these suggestions:

  • Discuss all of the various songs you can sing for 20 seconds while washing your hands. There are so many song choices, like this!
  • Try these fun at-home activities
  • Be kind to yourself and your loved ones. Household dynamics may shift, so remember, we are all navigating this together despite the distance between us

How to Make a Homemade Mask:

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Weekend Round Up

Due to the classification of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a world health crisis, and BBBS’ strong recommendation for Bigs and Littles to not meet in person, the Weekend Round Up has been modified to show appropriate resources for Matches and the families we serve. Our Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence website also has a specific page devoted to Coronavirus information and resources, click here: https://www.independencebigs.org/covid19/

If you would like to be taken directly to resources in your area, please click the following links:

 

At Home Activities

Girl Scouts Virtual Troop, Central and Southern New Jersey

Same Sisterhood. Different Delivery! We’re delivering the complete Girl Scout experience through our new Virtual Troop! Girl Scouts will have planned activities for your girl to follow! Earn badges, develop leadership skills, and become a part of the Girl Scout sisterhood. Wednesdays 2-3 pm, June 17th – August 26th. For more information and to sign up, email: Tomika Jester at tjester@gscsnj.org

 

Free Library of Philadelphia

Visit the Free Library of Philadelphia to check out the calendar of their virtual programs. This includes activities like science experiments, storytimes, and virtual reading to therapy dogs. 

https://libwww.freelibrary.org/calendar/event/100223

Hear from our CEO

A message from our CEO, Marcus Allen:  YouTube  |   Facebook   |   Instagram

 

Ways for Natches to Stay In-Touch remotely

Craft Together

Craft Contemporary has easy to follow video tutorials and step by step instructions for fun crafts that you can do at home or over video chat with one another. Some projects include branch weaving, printing with leaves, and a no-sew t-shirt mask!

https://www.craftcontemporary.org/craft-at-home/

Hold a Fitness Competition

The site Fitocracy.com is an excellent free tool for holding fitness competitions – with the ability to easily track every exercise you complete and give you an appropriate number of points per exercise, it makes working out feel like a real-life video game. You gain levels each time you earn a certain number of points and complete challenges, so it’s very simple to compete though the site has a special challenge feature as well. If you don’t want to use it, simply challenge each other to exercise more (without using the site) – set an end date and determine the winning criteria – for example, most sit-ups in two minutes, most improved mile time, etc.

Games while Talking on the Phone

Last Letter

The idea of the game is you need to make a chain of words on a given topic. The rules are very simple – the first player names a word on a given topic, the second player names a word which the first letter matches the last letter of the word named by the first player, and so on. Anyone who cannot come up with a word with the right letter for 30 seconds loses.

Rainbow Race

On your mark, get set, go!  The first person who returns with three items of a predetermined color is the winner.  Repeat with other colors. To make it more challenging, you can create rules such as the objects “must be in this room” or “must be smaller than your hand.”  You can also do this with the alphabet. Who can be the first to find three things that all start with B?


Education & Virtual Learning


Community Organizing for Social Justice

A free online course about how to organize effectively for issues of social justice in your community. The course examines specific strategies for community organizing for social justice in a diverse, democratic society. It examines core concepts of social justice and practical steps for bringing people together to set goals and priorities, assess community assets and needs, develop action plans, and build support for implementation. It includes information on how to form core groups, build organizational capacity, and formulate a strategy for reaching out to constituents and allies.

https://www.classcentral.com/course/community-organizing-17293


Monterey Bay Aquarium – Virtual Field Trips

Click the link for a list of times of narrated feedings of penguins, sea otters, etc. and a list of live cams where you can experience remotely bird watching, a coral reef cam, shark cam, jelly cam and much more.

https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

Varsity Tutors Virtual Summer Camps

Varsity Tutors is running lots of weeklong camp sessions for no cost, with classes that run the K–12 gamut. You can hunt and find one that matches your kids’ particular interests, from recycled art for kindergartners and LEGO moviemaking for elementary students to Minecraft storytelling for middle schoolers and podcasting for high school students.

https://www.varsitytutors.com/virtual-summer-camps?irgwc=1&irclickid=WA-2bj2WnxyOWYbwUx0Mo38VUkiUyXTdRUaLXg0&network=af&utm_source=ir&utm_medium=affiliates&affid=10078&vtmedium=affiliate&vtsource=impactradius&vtcampaign=10078&aff_tel=

 

Destinations Career Academy: Tuition-free summer programs

Turn Your Passion into a Career Path, Wednesday, June 24 – Wednesday, July 22

Are you interested in computers? Starting your own business? Working in the healthcare field? This summer, rising 9th–11th graders can earn 0.5 high school credit while exploring the wide variety of high-demand careers in one these tuition-free online summer school courses:

  • Business and Marketing Explorations
  • Healthcare Explorations
  • Information Technology Explorations

Our online career exploration courses begin on June 24, 2020, and must be completed by July 22, 2020.

Rising 9th–11th graders can sign up for one tuition-free online career exploration course. In addition, rising 8th–11th can sign up for both the Video Game Design and Programing and the Virtual Reality tuition-free online summer camps.

https://www.destinationsacademy.com/schools-and-programs/free-summer-school-programs.html

Camp Kinda

Monday, June 1 – Tuesday, September 1

Camp Kinda is a free virtual summer experience designed to keep kids in grades K-8 engaged, curious, and having fun—even if they’re stuck at home. It’s like summer camp… kinda.

Sign up and your kids will get 3-4 hours’ worth of activities each day, all connected to a weekly theme. Nothing boring. We’re talking about exploring the art of graphic novels, unlocking the mysteries of history, or jumping into the world’s craziest sports. Start any time you want. End any time you want. Camp Kinda runs on your schedule. We’ll add new adventures every week, and save them all for you right here.

https://campkinda.org/

The Digital Arts Experience Virtual Summer Camp

Class options include Coding with Scratch, Python Programming, Java Programming, Arcade Game Design with Java, 3-D Game Design with Unity, 3-D Modeling, Graphic Design, YouTube Video Production, 2-D & 3-D Animation, and Virtual Reality Development with Unity. All programs needed are free to download.

https://mommypoppins.com/westchester-kids/directory/virtual/the-digital-arts-experience-virtual-summer-camp

 

Montclair Learning Center Camps

Voted Best STEM Program in the Mommy Poppins New Jersey Bestie Awards, Montclair Learning Center offers STEM+ Camp for grades 1-8, with programs that include Robotics, Maker Lab, Code Academy, STEAM/Engineering, Chess, and Girls-Only STEM+ Camp. Register for class-only, half-day, or full-day options. Early drop-off and late pick-up are available. Little Engineers Summer Camp for ages 3-5 exposes children to different areas of STEM through fun, hands-on, engaging activities that develop their creativity, curiosity, problem-solving, critical thinking, communications, and teamwork skills. Themes are accompanied by related stories, songs, and games. Explorations often take campers outside, and a daily snack and recess period is offered midday. Themes include dinosaurs, space, robots, science, and more, with full- or half-day options.

https://www.mlcplus.com/

Bronx Zoo’s Wildlife Camp Online

This summer, the Bronx Zoo is taking its renowned summer camp program online. The virtual camp provides your camper the opportunity to get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at their favorite animals at the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium. They will meet wild animal keepers and scientists, experience close encounters, and participate in cool science and conservation action. From the comfort of your home, kids from PreK-8th grade will participate in a combination of synchronous activities at scheduled times, as well as self-directed activities that campers can do at their own pace. They will collaborate with new friends and embark on life-changing experiences.

https://bronxzoo.com/learn/children-and-family-programs/wildlife-camp-online

Chess NYC Fun & Training Camps Online

This summer, Chess NYC has gone virtual! Chess NYC’s policy of “Chess Should Be Fun (Even Online)” prevails during the cool days of Fun & Training Camp. From beginners to grandmasters, these camps are sure to inspire, captivate, motivate, and generate chess players of all levels. Classes focus on strategies, defense, tactics, and even competitive online play. Chess NYC offers hourly, full-day, weekly, and full-summer passes for all the chess your child desires.  Chess NYC is offering 4 levels of chess classes:

  • Head Start Jr.—Weekly progressive sessions to jump start your little one into the game.
  • Advancing in Chess—Classes focusing on basic strategies, defense, tactics, and competitive play.
  • GM Inspired TAG I—Classes for more competitive players focusing on advanced strategies and online competitive play.
  • GM Inspired TAG II—After graduating from TAG I, hourly classes will push students to the limit with next-level training and online competitive play.

https://chessnyc.com/

 

Kids 4 Coding- Virtual Summer Tech Program

Nationally recognized Kids 4 Coding enters its 7th summer season, now offering virtual tech camps. New Virtual Tech Camps  Kids 4 Coding knows it can be a challenge to keep kids engaged while working from home. Virtual classes with small-group instruction (5:1 student-teacher ratio) give kids an opportunity to socialize with their peers, take part in creative challenges, and advance their tech skills in a supportive environment. #LearnSafely@Home. Whether it’s on-campus or online, Kids 4 Coding propels kids to tech readiness through innovative, hands-on projects and challenges. Students gain an edge in STEM by learning to create and code games, autonomous cars, and machine learning and to create mobile apps, electronics, websites, robots, and more using top programming languages like Python and JavaScript. Instructors are from MIT, BU, Northeastern, GA Tech, Duke, and more. Join over 10,000 Kids 4 Coding alumni since 2014.

https://www.kids4coding.com/

For additional summer virtual events as well as activities please visit:

https://mommypoppins.com/camps/online-summer-camps-kids-STEM-arts



Talking with Youth about Current Events

Anti-Racism – “You may be doing it wrong”
A brief (less than 6 minutes) video on how to practice anti-racism and accept feedback. Relevant, quick, and helpful

https://www.thelily.com/anti-racism-you-may-be-doing-it-wrong-heres-why/?utm_campaign=wp_lily_lines&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_lily

 

Life Kit, From NPR

Everyone needs a little help being a human. From sleep to saving money to parenting and more, we talk to the experts to get the best advice out there. Life Kit is here to help you get it together. Check out the episode from June 25thNavigating The Coming Out Conversation — From Both Sides

https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510338/all-guides

 

Resources for Teaching Young Children about Race and Racism

A collection of resources for adults, teachers and children.
https://files.constantcontact.com/7c20e7e9701/5a0bd6e5-3e8e-4f39-9003-616d6b04a513.pdf

 

Talking about Racism, Racial Equity & Racial Healing with Friends, Family, Colleagues, & Neighbors

The National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH) offers people, organizations and communities across the United States, opportunities to recognize the need for racial healing, and brings people together to take collective action for a more just and equitable world.

https://healourcommunities.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/NDORH_ConversationGuide_2019_V6_12-10-18-FINAL_proofed.pdf

 

Supporting Teenagers & Young Adults during Coronavirus

Keeping adult-child relationships strong during a crisis is tricky. Give teens room to share their feelings without judgment.
https://childmind.org/article/supporting-teenagers-and-young-adults-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/

 

Looking out for Kids during Social Distancing

Talking with Youth about Current Events

Life Kit, From NPR

Everyone needs a little help being a human. From sleep to saving money to parenting and more, we talk to the experts to get the best advice out there. Life Kit is here to help you get it together. Check out the episode from June 15thWant To Have Better Conversations About Racism With Your Parents? Here’s How https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510338/all-guides

 

Resources for Teaching Young Children about Race & Racism

A collection of resources for adults, teachers, and children.

https://files.constantcontact.com/7c20e7e9701/5a0bd6e5-3e8e-4f39-9003-616d6b04a513.pdf

 

Talking about Racism, Racial Equity & Racial Healing with Friends, Family, Colleagues & Neighbors

The National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH) offers people, organizations and communities across the United States, opportunities to recognize the need for racial healing, and brings people together to take collective action for a more just and equitable world. https://healourcommunities.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/NDORH_ConversationGuide_2019_V6_12-10-18-FINAL_proofed.pdf

Coronavirus Resources

Strategies to Feel Better about Remote Learning

As some schools prepare to continue online options in the fall, consider this video about how to feel better doing online school.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/the-lily/5-ways-to-feel-better-about-online-school-during-coronavirus/2020/05/26/8e094ed5-5ad6-42e6-821c-8dcbe02eb6bd_video.html


Young People & Their Mental Health

 Mental health problems often develop during the teenage period. As many as 1 out of 5 teenagers are dealing with these problems. Therefore, it is important that you know how to recognize common mental health problems, know how they arise, what you can do to prevent them and what you should do when you actually suffer from them. This course, designed specifically for young people, will help you find out more. This free course has been created for young people aged over 14 wanting to know more about mental health. It might also be of interest to parents, caregivers, teachers and medical professionals.
https://www.classcentral.com/course/young-people-mental-health-9491

Guide to Talking with Kids about COVID-19

The Philadelphia School District has provided their guide to talking to kids about COVID-19 as well as strategies to help children cope with anxiety and stress.
https://www.philasd.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Covid-19-SDP-Parent-Guide.pdf

 

Keep Kids Active While Social Distancing

Schools are closed, events are canceled, and public health organizations are calling for social distancing in response to the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic. Among the chaos, you, or a caretaker, are faced with keeping kids entertained and engaged. While so many things feel out of our control, taking an activity break can serve as a welcome distraction, burn some energy, and relieve stress.

https://www.strong4life.com/en/news/keep-kids-active-while-practicing-social-distancing

Teen Support Group

 

What To Say When a Friend Is Struggling

During a global pandemic, almost everyone is being faced with hardship in some way. How do we comfort the ones we love and provide them with support? NPR’s LifeKit has a 13 minute podcast to help you figure out what to say when someone you love, a friend, family member, or partner is struggling.
https://www.npr.org/2020/05/18/858304790/what-to-say-when-a-friend-is-struggling

 

Coronavirus Resources

Voting in Pennsylvania
Learn how to exercise your right to vote. This guide will help connect you with Pennsylvania’s voting and election services. The Pennsylvania primary election is now on June 2ND.

How to Grocery Shop Safely During a Pandemic
As we adjust to life during pandemic, the one place we all overlap is at the grocery store and it’s important to know these six tips from LifeKit on how to safely grocery shop to protect yourself, other people and grocery store workers.
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/04/23/840251903/video-six-tips-for-staying-safe-while-grocery-shopping

Comcast Offering Free Internet to Help with Coronavirus Impacts
Comcast is extending their 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service for new customers through June 30. Internet Essentials is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. For more information, visit www.internetessentials.com

How to Make a Homemade Mask
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. o Instructions in English: DIY-cloth-face-covering-instructions o Instructions in Spanish: DIY-cloth-face-covering-instructions-sp

Be on the Lookout for Stimulus Check Scams
The U.S Treasury Secretary says most of those $1200 stimulus checks are set to hit accounts starting this week if you have direct deposit. Scammers are out in full force and the FTC says those scammers are playing off of confusion over stimulus payments. There are THREE emerging scams to let you know about:

  1. TEXT MESSAGE:
    A text message that looks like it’s coming from the IRS. The message says ‘your economic relief check is ready and all you have to do is click the link to confirm.
  2. POSTCARDS:
    Another scam is postcards with a password to be used online to access or verify your payment or direct deposit information. Not real!
  3. OVER PAYMENT SCAMS:
    The FTC says to watch out for over-payment scams, in other words a check for more than what you were expecting (it might look official, but it may not be real). The scammers in this case will tell you to keep your $1200 payment and return the rest by sending cash, gift cards or money transfers. That’s a scam! The IRS will not send you an over-payment check. The IRS will not contact you to get your personal information or bank account. Do not click on links. Don’t respond to emails, or text messages.

Visit https://local.nixle.com/alert/7933618/?sub_id=1000009044 for more info.

General Coronavirus Resources:

Comcast offering free internet to help with Coronavirus impacts
[LINK]

The PA Department of Health has made a dedicated hotline: 877-888-6647
This is the PA Department of Health website, this page has a lot of helpful links and info graphics for how to keep yourself safe and what to do if you get sick.

Two NJ hotline numbers: 1-800-962-1253 or 1-800-222-1222.
Here is the NJ website for steps to take if you think you’re sick. The general NJ Health website is also a great resource.

Testing site information:

  • This article gives a list of sites in the Independence area (Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties in PA and Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties in NJ) were you can get tested.
  • This site is helpful for finding a testing site specifically in New Jersey (this option is not available in PA).
  • Remember to contact your doctor, when possible, for more information about testing sites.

Burlington

Burlington County website
Here’s the Burlington County website. It directs you to the above NJ numbers if you would like to make a phone call.

Coronavirus: What you need to know about getting tested in New Jersey
[LINK]

NJ Relief efforts
[LINK]

Camden

Camden County specific website
Here’s the Camden County specific website for what to do in this time. It directs you to the above NJ numbers if you would like to make a phone call

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently asked questions, Cherry Hill
[LINK]

Coronavirus: What you need to know about getting tested in New Jersey
[LINK]

NJ Relief efforts
[LINK]

Chester

Chester County Health Department Flyer
[PDF]

Philadelphia Hotline 1-800-722-7112 (they are helping to cover Chester)
Here is the ChesCo Health Department website.

Chester County Food Bank
We are open and keeping health & safety as our top priority. https://chestercountyfoodbank.org/

Delaware

Delaware County PA, Coronavirus Updates
[LINK]

Call 1-877-PA-HEALTH if you are having symptoms

Gloucester

Gloucester County Division of Health Services
[LINK]

Coronavirus: What you need to know about getting tested in New Jersey
[LINK]

NJ Relief efforts
[LINK]

Montgomery

Montgomery County Launches New Coronavirus Website
Keep up to date with the most recent data, maps, and resources from Montgomery County and health officials on coronavirus. [LINK]

Hotline specific for MontCo: 610-631-3000

Philadelphia

Find Free Meals for Students while Schools are Closed
All schools within the School District of Philadelphia will be closed for the remainder of this school year. The District is coordinating with the City’s Office of Children and Families, Parks & Recreation, and many other departments and nonprofit partners to provide meal service and activities in safe spaces throughout the city. [LINK]

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health
Has opened a 24/7 coronavirus helpline staffed by medical professionals: 1-800-722-7112. This is the general website for Philly regarding the virus, and this one goes into more detail and has more links and info.