Resources for our Bigs, Littles & Families during COVID-19

By March 18, 2020In The News, Match Events
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Posted March 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Updated March 31, 2020 at 10:35 am

 


Newest Resources from Latest Update:

  • As always, the health and safety of our children and youth, their families, our volunteers and our staff remains the top priority of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. As such, beginning Monday, March 23, we are asking all of our Bigs and Littles to heed the advice of the nation’s medical experts as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and limit your contact exclusively to electronic communication. Please see below for ideas on how to stay connected virtually with your Little.
  • Staying Connected
  • Food Pantries & Meals for Kids
    • UF IFAS Extension Polk County Foodie Fun at Home: UF IFAS Extension Polk County is offering four 15 minute webinars to give you insights on fun, healthy eats!
    • Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger Meals on Wheels 4 Kids: MOW4Kids is a new program in St. Petersburg that offers home delivery meal services to kids during the school closure, starting March 23, 2020. We deliver to: 1) kids, ages 18 and under; 2) must be able to eat solid food. Participants must be home to receive the meal. This program is an alternative option for 1) kids that are not able to access any of the school meal distribution sites throughout the county; and/or 2) kids that have difficulty accessing open food pantries
  • Local Agencies & Updates
  • Additional Resources
    • State of Florida Reemployment Benefits Guides in English and Spanish
  • Coping with Stress
  • Things to do with your kids while social distancing for coronavirus

 

As we all navigate these uncertain times together, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay is committed to keeping our Bigs & Littles safe and connected. There are a number of suggestions and resources that are being offered to help everyone through the coronavirus. As we are made aware of new resources we will update this list of recommendations and resources

As always, the health and safety of our children and youth, their families, our volunteers, and our staff remains the top priority of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. As such, beginning Monday, March 23, we are asking all of our Bigs and Littles to heed the advice of the nation’s medical experts as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and limit your contact exclusively to electronic communication.

It is crucial that we maintain our mentoring relationships throughout this difficult time. Many of our Littles are likely scared and confused. They undoubtedly would welcome hearing from a trusted friend who can help ease their fears and provide a distraction. Below are resources relating to the current situation, including ideas on ways the Bigs and Littles can enjoy their virtual time together. If you come up with a fun or creative activity to share with your Little, please let us know so that we can share it with other Bigs.

Be aware that you will continue to receive regular phone calls and e-mails from your Match Support Specialist, regardless of how frequently you are able to communicate with your Little. Regular communication with your MSS is essential and required. The MSS team can also be a great resource in helping you make and maintain contact with your Little, and to suggest alternative “virtual” activities.

Staying Connected

Prepare a plan with your Little so you can still stay in touch using FaceTime, Zoom or similar online tools. The FaceTime App is most likely already on your iPhone. Remember that your Littles will have to download/install whatever tool you choose, as well. You can also consider Google Duo and WhatsApp. Schedule time to see your Little just like you would an in-person visit and plan what you will be doing in advance with their parent or guardian. Please discuss all this with your Match Support Specialist if you have questions or problems. We have also created a YouTube playlist with videos on how to use the tools below.

There are many great ways to stay in touch with your Little virtually:

Find more resources and tips for mentoring during COVID-19 at Mentoring.org and check out the Building Developmental Relationships During the COVID-19 Crisis checklist from Search Institute. Training Magazine also has some tips for mentoring in the digital age.

Mentoring at a Distance: Tips for School-to-Work Programs from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

Closures

YMCA Suncoast and Tampa Metropolitan YMCA locations will be closed effective Tuesday, March 17th at 9 pm through Sunday, March 29th.

School Closures: As of March 17, 2020, the Florida Department of Education announced that all public and private K-12 schools will be closed through April 15, 2020. All end-of-year testing has been canceled. Parents, below are some educational resources and activities that you may find beneficial to keep your child engaged and throughout the extended break from school.

  • For updates from Hillsborough County Public Schools, click here
  • For updates from Polk County Public Schools, click here

Resources

Educational Resources

  • Access to Age of Learning Programs: use the redemption code SCHOOL7771 to get access to these three online educational programs below for free
  • Scholastic: Scholastic provides free daily courses for kids stuck home amid school closures. The website provides up to three hours’ worth of content each day and can be completed on any device
  • Cincinnati Zoo: While the Cincinnati Zoo is closed and kids are home from school, they’ll help make your children’s hiatus from school fun and educational. Join the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for a Home Safari Face-book Live each weekday at 2pmCST /3pmET where we will highlight one of our amazing animals and include an activity you can do from home. Join them starting Monday, March 16 at 2pmCST/3pmET for their first Home Safari- featuring Fiona!
  • Space Racers: “Space Racers” is a NASA-funded, award-winning preschool television series that follows young spaceship cadets at the Stardust Space Academy as they explore the solar system. Episodes of the TV series — along with educational content; science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) activities; and educator-approved lesson plans.
  • Khan Academy: An online educational resource for Pre-K through 12th grade
  • COVID-19 Break Packets: educational packets designed by a teacher for Pre-K through 8th Grade
  • More free Learning Websites
  • Learn4Good: free educational games and resources

Best Practices to Limit Exposure and the Spread of Coronavirus

Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus

Food Pantries & Meals for Kids

  • Free Meals for Students: With Florida schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Commissioner Nikki Fried, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Division of Food, Nutrition, and Wellness encourage families to take advantage of alternative school meals. Summer BreakSpot sites do not operate during scheduled Spring Break weeks; however, parents may contact their local school districts to determine if meals are available during Spring Break. Find contact information for your local school district. Click here for additional Meal Sites for Students during COVID-19
  • Restaurants offering free pizza slices for kids during extended break: The free kid’s slices are available at the following locations:
    • Sam’s New York Pizza: 21609 Village Lakes Shopping Center Dr, Land O’ Lakes
    • Sam’s New York Pizza: 4209 Little Rd, New Port Richey
    • Three Brothers New York Pizza: 17773 Gunn Hwy, Odessa
    • Three Brothers New York Pizza: 3436 Tampa Rd, Palm Harbor
  • Find A Food Pantry: Feeding Tampa Bay offers a number of different ways to bring food to your table every day – and we’re ready to deploy resources to support our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note, as the situation continues to evolve, food pantries and mobile pantries could cancel without much notice. We recommend calling food pantries before visiting and checking the mobile pantry schedule daily to ensure locations are operating. If you need further assistance, please call our office directly at 813-254-1190.
  • Senior Food Hotline: Call 1-800-432-2080
  • Feeding Tampa Bay’s Breakspot Meal Sites with free meals for Kids
  • UF IFAS Extension Polk County Foodie Fun at Home: UF IFAS Extension Polk County is offering four 15 minute webinars to give you insights on fun, healthy eats!
  • Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger Meals on Wheels 4 Kids: MOW4Kids is a new program in St. Petersburg that offers home delivery meal services to kids during the school closure, starting March 23, 2020. We deliver to: 1) kids, ages 18 and under; 2) must be able to eat solid food. Participants must be home to receive the meal. This program is an alternative option for 1) kids that are not able to access any of the school meal distribution sites throughout the county; and/or 2) kids that have difficulty accessing open food pantries

Local Agencies & Updates

Additional Resources

  • Free Access to Spectrum Broadband: Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households
  • Lakeland Electric, Duke Energy, and TECO will not disconnect power for nonpayment amid coronavirus pandemic: Duke Energy announced on Friday it would no longer disconnect customers’ power over nonpayment during the coronavirus pandemic. Lakeland Electric is suspending service disconnections for non-payment until further notice. Tampa Electric announced on Sunday that they will not disconnect customer’s power for nonpayments at least until the end of March.
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline: The Disaster Distress Helpline answers calls and texts related to infectious dis-ease outbreaks. Call or text to connect with a trained counselor 24/7. Call 1-800-985-5990. Spanish-speakers can call the hotline and press “2” for 24/7 bilingual support
  • Department of Workforce Solutions
  • Tampa Metropolitan YMCA Childcare Relief: The YMCAs of Tampa Bay are offering all-day youth relief care for essential workers at 23 Y locations to help support the children of healthcare and emergency response professionals who are playing important roles combating the coronavirus.
  • State of Florida Reemployment Benefits Guides in English and Spanish

Coping with Stress

We know the existing relationships of our Bigs and Littles are important to keep intact, especially during stressful times. The World Health Organization has some helpful guidance on how to cope with stress and help children cope too.

Self-Care Tips for Children & Adults

We understand that this is a very stressful time for a lot of us. Stress can have a significant impact on work and school performance, your physical and mental health, as well as your relationships with others. It is important to manage stress in healthy ways. Below are some ways that can help you to cope with stress.

  • Go for a walk
  • Gardening
  • Read a book
  • Do some yoga
  • Cook a new dish
  • Burn a scented candle
  • Cuddle with a pet
  • Meditate
  • Write in a journal
  • Watch a movie
  • Pray
  • Drive to a new place
  • Make a list
  • Clean out a junk drawer or closet
  • Call a friend on the phone
  • Take a deep breath
  • Draw a picture
  • Watch your favorite movie
  • Write down some goals
  • Exercise
  • Write a letter
  • Learn a new skill

Support for LGBTQ+ Youth: In this time of uncertainty many LGBTQ+ youth, who likely already feel isolated, might be feeling even more detached by the social distancing mandates in your area. Support can be accessed by phone, chat & text and additional resources are available online

Things to do with your kids while social distancing for coronavirus:

  • Florida Aquarium SEA-SPAN: The Tampa attraction is hosting a daily Facebook Live while it is closed due to coronavirus. It will be broadcast at 10 a.m. each day to keep you up to date on happenings at the aquarium. On March 17, you can watch to see the lemurs celebrate
  • Tour through famous museums: Sure you can’t leave your house but don’t let that stop you from enjoying all our world has to offer. Travel and Leisure put together a list of museums that offer virtual tours
  • Learning at home: There are tons of websites for educational activities for kids. We found this Facebook post detailing a bunch of websites you could try
  • Get on a schedule: Maybe that doesn’t sound like the greatest plan but it can be really helpful for kids. BusyToddler.com came up with a schedule that can help you plan your days. This is also an example of a daily schedule for kids who are home during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 30-day LEGO challenge: We found this one that could be fun! Take the 30 day LEGO challenge and make something new every day
  • Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: Mo Willems invites YOU into his studio every day for his LUNCH DOODLES. Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together. New episodes will be posted each weekday at 1:00 p.m. ET and then remain online to be streamed afterward. Check back each weekday for new LUNCH DOODLES!
  • Coronavirus Sanity Guide: Meditations, podcasts, blog posts, and talks to help build resilience and find some calm amidst the chaos
  • Clearwater Library: Access eBooks, digital comic books, audiobooks, magazines, and more with your Clearwater Library card
  • Polk County Library: Polk County residents can register for a library card over the phone. Check here for a list of numbers to call. Although libraries are currently closed, bibliophiles can utilize hoopla – a free digital streaming service to access eBooks, eAudiobooks, music, movies, + TV shows using your own electronic device
  • Google Arts & Culture’s collection of museums: There are thousands of museum Street Views on Google as well
  • Google Arts & Culture’s collection of historic and cultural heritage sites
  • Google Arts & Culture’s collection of national parks
  • Nightly Met Opera Streams: During this extraordinary and difficult time, the Met hopes to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark. Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of the opera’s greatest singers. The performances are being made available through the Met Opera on Demand streaming service, and are also accessible through Met Opera on Demand apps on all of your favorite devices.
  • Stay-at-Home Care Package by Big Life Journal: ideas for indoor and outdoor activities for kids and teens
  • The Cincinnati Zoo: The Cincinnati Zoo hosts animal features on their YouTube page that are fun and educational!
  • Audible Stories: Free stories for kids of all ages while they are out of school
  • Raymond’s Activities for Kids from the Tampa Bay Rays that includes coloring pages and activity pages
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