River Oak Charter School in Ukiah, one of the twelve grantees from our Safety-Net Grant Program, is using their funding to increase access to psychological and behavioral health services to support students’ mental health needs. “Recent research demonstrates that COVID-19 is affecting the mental health of children and adolescents and that depression and anxiety are prevalent,” according to Dr. Karen Wagner, professor of psychiatry at University of Texas. These studies emphasize the importance of talking with our children to mitigate the effects of isolation, loneliness, and anxiety. By making mental health resources more readily available to their students, River Oak Charter School is caring for children’s mental health during the pandemic and throughout their lives.
The shifting modes of learning for our students, and our schools ability to prepare, have been an ongoing struggle since March. In an effort to serve their students, grantee Pacific Community Charter School in Point Arena is enhancing its outdoor learning spaces to provide in-person instruction, tutoring during distance learning periods, and eventually hybrid instruction. By doing so the school is not only establishing effective learning environments for their students, but also reducing the anxiety that stems from the uncertainty of education in the future by becoming more prepared now.
Round Valley Indian Health Center (RVIHC) received a safety-net grant from the Community Foundation’s Fund for Round Valley to purchase and develop a Tribal Prayer Garden and Youth Play Center to provide a safe environment for community members to visit during the pandemic and beyond. Creating a center for both adults and youth to visit will promote mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical wellness, while also promoting RVIHC’s overarching efforts to reduce health disparities. This dedicated space will minimize exposure while creating a nurturing space for children and families.
Children and youth throughout the county are among those most vulnerable. As our community strives to find solutions to educating and caring for children during the pandemic, these grant programs allow all types of safety-net organizations, including schools, to enhance their services in unique ways. We know that non-profits are an essential element of our community’s ability to recover from this slow-moving disaster. Creating a special focus in our COVID-19 Relief efforts allows us to support them as they care for our most vulnerable residents.