Uncertain Times, Unwavering Support

Copy of Firstday Dear Student U friends, COVID-19 has changed the structure of our local and global community and Student U has not been immune. Over the past few weeks, we have focused our energy on keeping students, families, and staff members safe while maintaining programming and operations for as long as possible. This week, like many of our peer organizations, we officially shut down our traditional programs and have started to work remotely. This was not an easy decision, but the right one to keep our entire community safe. Closing the doors of The W.G. Pearson Center has not stifled our deep care for our students and families — nor has it stopped our operations. Since Monday, our teams have been:
  • Reaching out to families one-on-one to check in on them and listen to their needs;
  • Creating an extensive list of online tools for families and the entire community to access through our website to ensure students remain engaged while out of school;
  • Participating in community-wide planning meetings to coordinate rapid response support to make sure children have access to meals, personal hygiene supplies, and educational tools;
  • Communicating our most critical needs to our funders and advocating for sustained support to ensure our entire team, especially our part-time workers, can remain compensated even as our operations adapt to the COVID-19 realities.

I am humbled and impressed by my team’s quick innovation and unwavering desire to remain connected to all of our families during this time of social distancing. Our ability to connect and genuinely be with one another has always been Student U’s secret sauce. More than anything else, we build community.

As the days and weeks continue to change and we continue to adapt to uncertain times, we will remain unwavering in our commitment to being with our students, families, and the community to the best of our virtual ability. We will do so in the following ways:
  • Daily Morning Brilliance — an age-old Student U tradition of starting our day grounded together and hopeful about what is to come. We invite all members of our community to record a quick one-minute video sharing a quote, a poem, a song, a story, or an experience that is wrapping your heart in hope right now. We will post this on all of our social media platforms. Submit them to Brandy Luce at brandy.luce@studentudurham.org.
  • Weekly Facebook Live — to keep students and families learning and growing together. “No school” will not stifle our students’ opportunity to learn. Look out for a schedule from us soon. 

We are all in uncharted territory. We believe that our unwavering love, care, and connection to one another will help us get to the other side.

With deep love, admiration, and appreciation for each and every single one of you,

Alexandra Zagbayou,
Student U Executive Director


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