What has been the impact of COVID-19 in your local community? ¿Cuál ha sido el impacto de COVID-19 en tu comunidad?
COVID-19 has worsened inequities of education to our primarily low-income Latino community. Many of our children are without internet access and our Spanish-speaking families have trouble assisting children with remote learning.
What have been the challenges in responding to the impact? What has been the greatest need in the community?
The greatest need has been providing access to educational resources. Our families live in rural locations near farms, along the Mexican border, and some U.S. citizen children live in Palomas, Mexico with their grandparents.
Aside from a $1,000 PPP loan advance grant, Play Sharity was not able to qualify for the PPP loan forgiveness program as we are a new small business, have only part-time employees, and did not have payroll costs in 2019. This coupled with COVID-related cuts in our funding by the county government has left us understaffed. The need for assistance in our community is great, and it has been a challenge for many nonprofits to provide these services with government budget cuts, and the difficulty for the government to push down adequate funding to small nonprofits.
How did your organization respond? ¿Cómo ha respondido tu organización?
Play Sharity has responded by opening a contactless resource library to provide families with educational technology, games and bilingual learning resources normally available to children at school. The HIP grant was matched by others in our community to provide the largest back to school distribution in our community. Families were provided face masks, hygiene kits, art and basic schools supplies in a durable backpack.
What has brought you the greatest joy in your work? ¿Que parte del trabajo que hace tu organización te da la más felicidad?
A child whose face brighten with a huge smile when she picked out her tye dye backpack, and said ‘thank you so much.’ A little boy who smiled back at his mom, who was videotaping him playing an electronic math game they had received from our resource library. The little boy who was frustrated learning math is now enjoying practicing multiplication! Our children have been managing so much stress, and to see their faces turn into a smile keeps us motivated to help our community.
What would you like people to know? ¿Que te gustaría que la gente sepa de tu trabajo?
Due to COVID, Play Sharity was unable to open their indoor play spaces, but used their center to convert it into a distribution hub of educational resources and activity kits to keep children engaged during COVID.
How can the community support your efforts? ¿Que pueden hacer tu comunidad para apoyar tu trabajo?
You can support Play Sharity by sending educational technology, billingual teaching aides and items listed on our amazon wishlist, available at www.playsharity.org. We are also in need of a van to help us deliver these resources to individuals living in remote rural areas.