A note from our CEO, Judith Dittman:
Because I know how much you care about the young people in our programs, I wanted to provide you with an update on the ways we are trying to keep them safe during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
As of this writing, there are no community spread cases of COVID-19 transmission in Virginia and the Fairfax County Health Department says the risk of infection is very low in our community. However, as soon as we learned of cases appearing in the U.S., Second Story immediately implemented the following practices:
- Increased sanitizing of surfaces in our programs;
- Made sure that young people and staff know about and practice good hand hygiene;
- Limited group meetings;
- Communicated the latest information from the CDC and County Health Department to every person served in our programs;
- Sent letters home with information on steps our programs are taking and CDC information to parents in our Community Based Programs; and
- Made sure our staff knows not to report to work if they are sick.
All of our programs are open and, as of now, we do not plan to suspend operations at any location. However, we want to be proactive and be in front of this situation which may change rapidly. Therefore, in addition to measures we already have in place effective immediately and through the end of March, we are:
- Not accepting donations of clothing, food and other items. This will help prevent the potential spread of germs through objects as well as limit the number of people who visit Second Story for Teens in Crisis. (Our program on Gallows Road for teens who are homeless or in crisis.)
- Limiting visitors to our programs.
- Asking volunteers in our Second Story for Homeless Youth, Second Story for Young Mothers and Second Story for Teens in Crisis to suspend volunteering at the programs.
- Requesting volunteers who provide meals to our programs to suspend their efforts for the time being.
- Asking volunteers in our Community Based Programs to be sure they are well before helping in our after-school programs.
- Encouraging staff who can do so to work remotely.
Many of you have asked if there are ways that you can help. YES! We can use gift cards to allow us to purchase needed items for our programs as well as to provide to youth. Young people in Second Story for Homeless Youth and Second Story for Young Mothers work at hourly jobs, often part time. If these youth are furloughed, we need to be able to support them until the crisis eases. Gift cards will also help purchase food and other needed supplies for those served by our Community Based Programs, many of whom already face food insecurity.
Thank you for your support as we all work to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, most especially the vulnerable young people at Second Story. If you have any questions about what I covered in this letter, I welcome you to reach out to us.
With gratitude for all you do,