|Letter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Navigating Uncharted Times
You may have seen people joking online about how they plan to completely ignore healthy screen time habits during this crisis to help manage children who are out of school. We certainly all recognize the serious difficulties parents face right now, especially since many are trying to juggle both working from home as well as caring for and teaching children. That said, we should all keep trying our best to find some balance with screen time to avoid adding more anxiety, depression and isolation to an already emotionally challenging situation.
There are a lot of great opportunities to make screen time interactive and educational, such as taking virtual museums tours together or watching a zoo's live stream and then discussing what you've seen. Plus, follow-along exercise activities, including yoga, make a great replacement for recess. You can also mix it up by dusting off some old-fashioned board games and puzzles, letting your kids explore their creative side both indoors and out, or reading some of the books on our list of Books about Kindness and Empathy. Check out these lists from South Bay Mommies & Daddies, Screen-Free Parenting and Resilient Little Hearts for more ideas, and see more resources to help you below.
Some say that this is the most serious global crisis since the onset of social media, and we are already seeing the benefits of how social media, FaceTime and other apps are keeping us connected. If we can curb the compulsion of too much mindless scrolling - the kind that causes us to disconnect from each other - it will benefit our mental health. Most importantly, we need to remember to be kind to ourselves and that none of us are alone.
A friend of mine recently shared these wise words from Rev. Caela Simmons Wood and I thought they perfectly summed up how we can come together as a community to navigate this uncharted time:
"PSA: Nearly everyone around you is learning how to "do/be X in a pandemic" for the first time ever right now. Parents, teachers, administrators, librarians, that cashier at the fast food joint, coaches, elected officials, your barber, your friend, your neighbor.
People will make mistakes.
You will make mistakes.
I will make mistakes.
We will love each other through it.
Be gentle with yourself and others. Breathe deeply. Take a break and find some joy. Keep listening and loving."
The Volunteer Center team is currently exploring ways to safely and creatively remain "at the heart of helping" through this unprecedented pandemic. Feel free to write us about resources, remote volunteer opportunities, or anything else you wish to share, and we will do our best to keep everyone informed and connected.
May we all have compassion for each other, be kind to ourselves, and stay safe,
|Accepting Applications for New Teen Program
...At the Heart of Connecting in a Safe Space
Applications are now available for our NEW Teen Program,
Connecting IRL (In Real Life)
! If you know a teen who is struggling with screen time and wants a safe space to connect in real life, encourage them to apply for this
new, first-of-its-kind program for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors!
Evan Papadakis, LCSW
- a local, licensed mental health professional - the program is still currently scheduled for
Saturdays, April 11 - May 9, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
at the Volunteer Center in Torrance. (
One exception: The first session on April 11 will meet until 4:30 p.m.
As with all organizations, we are carefully monitoring the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation. Right now, we plan to continue with the program with modifications. Interested teens should still apply for the program with the understanding that we may have to adjust the schedule.
Even if the schedule is adjusted/postponed, we will give priority for the program's limited spots to those teens who submit applications by the deadline below.
We sincerely believe that the timing for this program's content will be more valuable than ever for teens, since they are likely spending long hours on screens in the face of school closures and cancelled activities, and they will still need coping tools to help deal with the added stress and emotions they face.
To apply, interested teens should complete the online application
by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27
for one of the limited openings (8-20 total).
for complete details, a link to the online application, and a list of FAQs that include details about our COVID-related modifications.
|LIKE Screening in Long Beach Postponed
...At the Heart of Creating Community Conversations
Originally scheduled for April 29, the planned Long Beach screening of the documentary LIKE - followed by a panel discussion - has been postponed due to the suspension of community activities and school district closures. We will continue to update you about this screening as details evolve, as well as the status and any changes to our other planned screening in Torrance on May 8.
|COVID-19: Coping with Stress and Emotions
...At the Heart of Supporting Each Other
Below are some of the many resources available to help youth, families and the community navigate and cope with the stress and emotions this pandemic may be causing:
|COVID-19: Resources for Parents
...At the Heart of Providing Practical and Emotional Support
Rachel Elizabeth Cargle on Instagram @rachel.cargle and Ashley Austrew on Twitter @ashleyaustrew
Continuing on the theme of "you are not alone," we wanted to share these wise words, as well as more resources we've found to help parents during this uneasy time.
- Counselor Keri: While some schools are closing, kids are out of their comfortable routines, which can contribute to those worries. Click here for 15 things we can do to talk to kids about Coronavirus and help them manage these big worries they might be holding on to.
- Dana Howell of Behavioral Interventions And Solutions: In the wake of the vast number of school closings, I have created this FREE daily schedule and activity list printable PDF for parents. Are the schedule times or order of activities not quite right? Print it out, cut out the strips apart, reorder them to your liking and then glue it to a plain sheet of paper.
- Christine Carter, Ph.D., Greater Good Magazine: Click here for three ways to cope if your kid's school closes: 1. Create some structure around work and school at home now. 2. Connect with your clan. 3. Embrace not being so busy.
- Crisis Text Line: If you're worried about making rent, we're here for you. If you're overwhelmed homeschooling your kids, let's talk. If you work in healthcare and show up ready to help, thank you - you're superheroes. It's okay to not be okay. Text SHARE to 741741 to reach a Crisis Counselor.
- Teen Line: While they have temporarily closed the physical hotline space, youth may continue to contact Teen Line from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. (PST) nightly by texting TEEN to 839863, sending an email through their website, using the online message board, or downloading the app. Click here for complete details.
We all understand that this is a particularly lonely time for everyone, especially youth. Please share this information, so as many youth as possible can find the support they need right now, and click here for Teen Line's advice on How to Help Your Teen Through the Coronavirus Shutdown.
|Food For Kids Update
...At the Heart of Continuing to Serve
We have been communicating with our Food For Kids partner schools to explore the best ways to continue to support families during the school closures. We are currently working on identifying the locations of the community centers where we can continue to drop off food.
As you can imagine, many people cautiously stocked their own pantries over the past two weeks, so both our food and financial donations have ceased. We are still accepting donations, as long as our office in Torrance remains open. We have also changed the donation procedures to ensure your safety and the safety of our staff.
- If you are healthy, in a low-risk age group, and would like to donate food, please call the office at (310) 212-5009 to make a drop-off appointment.
- At your designated drop-off time, you can drive up to the ramp adjacent to our parking lot, and our staff will work with you to help you remain six feet away as you unload your donation.
Learn more about Food For Kids - including a downloadable copy of our Shelf-Stable Shopping List - on our website, and learn about the latest Food For Kids donations by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- We would also truly appreciate financial donations to help us continue this program and serve local families in need during this challenging time. Click here to make a donation.
- Quote of the Month -
"While the list goes on and on and grows longer every day, we're going to need some good stuff to lean on and look forward to. Here are a few things to consider:
Conversations will not be cancelled.
Relationships will not be cancelled.
Love will not be cancelled.
Songs will not be cancelled.
Reading will not be cancelled.
Self-care will not be cancelled.
Hope will not be cancelled.
That's just my initial list. What else? What do you love that won't be cancelled? Who and what can you rely on right now? What will you continue to participate in?
We're all in this together... May we care well for one another. May we live with more grace and compassion than ever before. May we be careful and wise but also honest on the days we feel afraid. May we always always always know that it's okay to ask for help. And may we lean into the good stuff that remains."
Founder of To Write Love On Her Arms and
New York Times Bestselling Author
Featured Kindness Opportunities
While group volunteer activities are not possible, we encourage each of you to touch base with your neighbors and practice kindness on a personal level as much as possible.
Here are a few opportunities to help you do that:
We Love LB has published a postcard in seven languages that you can use to introduce yourself to your neighbors You and your kids can draw pictures and/or write letters for local seniors! Simply scan or take photos of them and send them by email to Khryste Griswold at Home Care Assistance. Khryste said the pictures and words will bring great joy to the elder community members experiencing isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, so she is happy to help distribute them!
, and help set up lines of communication and aid for those that might be high-risk or otherwise in-need. Visit
and scroll down for links to the different versions.
THANK YOU TO OUR MAJOR SPONSORS:
The Volunteer Center
South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach
Recognizing the value of empathy and service to others, the Volunteer Center has been "at the heart of helping" for more than 50 years. The heart of our mission lies in knowing the most urgent, local needs. We learn these needs by regularly listening to the members of our community. When we discover a critical need is going unmet, we lead the response by assembling a team of caring, talented volunteers to create signature programs, such as Operation Teddy Bear and Food For Kids, offering members of our community the opportunity to contribute to the solution. Click here to learn more about our new Youth Mental Health focus and how we're helping youth, families and the community gradually reduce screen time, while increasing face-to-face connections, empathy and resilience.