Low-income children and families across Metropolitan Chicago continue to be significantly impacted by COVID-19. This pandemic still threatens the low-income children and families we serve in extraordinary ways.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bright Promises has supported the immediate needs of low-income children and families through the Bright Promises COVID-19 Response Fund. Bright Promises response efforts have been focused on four main areas of pressing, unmet need:
- Domestic abuse/child abuse prevention and services - As families are sheltered in place in their homes, abusive situations have been severely exacerbated. Witnessing or being a victim of domestic violence is one of the identified ACES, or causes of childhood trauma.
- Food/shelter for homeless families - Homeless families are more vulnerable and impacted by the pandemic as they lack the safety and stability of a controlled home-environment. Due to COVID-19, families are often shuffled from one place to another as individual staff or guests at shelters test positive, adding another layer of stress and uncertainty for children.
- Mental health support for children/youth - The pandemic is scary for children, especially those that were already in vulnerable situations. Access to mental health services for children are crucial for both those that were already receiving therapy/counseling and for whom a disruption in services would be devastating and for children that are experiencing anxiety about the current crisis.
- Childcare for first responders and essential workers - Health-care workers, custodial staff, grocery store-workers, delivery people, first responders and others must report to work. Many of these frontline and essential workers are at-risk of losing their jobs and the benefits afforded to them if they do not have access to reliable childcare, which jeopardizes the stability and safety of their children.
Since March, 2020 four rounds of emergency grants have been distributed to support organizations serving low-income families across Metropolitan Chicago and the surrounding suburb. These grants have addressed the urgent needs of low-income children and families, while also providing a lifeline to the agencies serving these families, ensuring that the infrastructure necessary for recovery remains intact.
The following is a list of organizations who have received emergency funding from Bright Promises Foundation:
- Casa Central, an early childhood education agency serving low-income families in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, was provided an emergency grant to support children through their Early Learning Academy, which has continued to provide virtual learning services during the pandemic. This grant was used to purchase the necessary technology to facilitate real-time communication between teachers and families.
- Channing’s Childcare Academy, an early childhood education center serving the Austin community on the westside of Chicago, was awarded an emergency grant for the purchase of food for the children in care, cleaning supplies, and other essential items and operating expenses.
- Chicago Children's Advocacy Center received an emergency grant for child abuse response and prevention. This grant supported the transition to tele-mental health sessions, and helped therapists to provide families with support, coping strategies, and referrals to other resources.
- Chicago Commons Association, an early childhood education agency serving low-income families on the south side of Chicago, received an emergency grant to offset costs related to safely re-opening their centers, including purchasing extra linens, temperature scanners, hand washing stations, and PPE.
- Children’s Place Association, an early childhood education agency serving low-income in Humboldt Park, received an emergency grant to support new procedures costs for the safe reopening of their facilities including daily health checks, sanitation stations, individual play materials, meal services, cleaning supplies, sneeze guard plexiglass and PPE.
- Children's Research Triangle (CRT) provides low-income families with low to no cost mental health services for uninsured children. CRT received an emergency grant for telehealth and virtual mental health services for children. CRT also used their grant to create training videos for social service agencies about trauma-informed mental health supports for children and their families as they shelter-in-place
- Chinese American Service League, an early childhood education agency serving families in the Chinatown community, received an emergency grant to train staff on safety guidelines, the purchase of portable plexiglass screens, and the development of YouTube videos in Cantonese and Mandarin for families anxious about safety guidelines and facility procedures.
- Christopher House, an early childhood education agency serving low-income families on the west side of Chicago, received an emergency grant to purchase additional cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and hand soap, masks for children and staff, and PPE for its staff.
- Family Rescue provides support services and shelter to victims of domestic violence, particularly abused women and their children. An emergency grant was awarded to support their two shelters, including tools and training to help staff assist resident children with remote schooling and the purchase of PPE for children, cleaning supplies, and items such as flash cards and other learning materials.
- Illinois Action for Children was provided a grant to assist more than 10 early childhood home-based childcare providers to meet increased costs caused by COVID-19, ensuring these providers were able to remain open and operating so first responders and other essential workers would have a safe place for their children.
- Onward Neighborhood House received an emergency grant to hire an Online Learning Trainer for Onward’s Early Childhood Education teachers with the specific goal of increasing their skill and comfort levels with online learning platforms.
- Primo Center for Women and Children is the city’s largest operator of shelter and comprehensive wraparound services for homeless families. Primo Center received an emergency grant to provide shelter and food for homeless families with children.
It is critical that the most vulnerable children and families in our communities continue to receive our support right now A gift to the Bright Promises COVID-19 Response Fund is an immediate action you can take to ensure Chicago children are able to thrive, now and in the future. To donate to Bright Promises ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, visit www.brightpromsies.org/support.