- Featured, Letter from Executive Director

Kicking COVID Butt – a letter from our Executive Director

     · Help feels like Hope! Read on if you’d like some Hope!
     · Let’s kick some COVID19 butt! We are not victims or powerless. (See Actions below!)
     · We stand together and together we cannot be shaken.

“when the torrent struck that house it could not shake it because it was well built.”  –Jesus

Dear Friend,

          What an incredible time! Whatever you are feeling or encountering, let me encourage you. In the face of such crisis, I see tremendous opportunity for full life for all of us. We feel nearly (but not quite!) completely overwhelmed yet abounding in hope. All things seem a threat and unfamiliar except the powerful, familiar love of Christ that pervades the UrbanPromise community – a tested love between staff, children, families and supporters. Each day is a torrent of more uncertainty, disruption, and bad news and yet we are not shaken. We have plans, actions, incredibly committed staff willing to lay their lives down, and a clear vision to endure the desert and reach the promised land (read: no COVID19, return to normal!). Our families are with us and you are with us and God is with us, “of whom shall we fear?” What is clear is that the Body of Christ can withstand the flood. “And after we have done everything, to stand.”

I will be sharing with you frequently in these early days to keep you informed of our progress, aware of how you can help, and proclaim boldly that we are not afraid nor impotent, nor victims. I am so hopeful and fiercely energized to face this challenge head on in behalf of our children and families and to see the love of God prevail. You are our partner, we stand together!

Encouraging words are important. They cast vision and reach to our deeper reservoirs of conviction and courage. But they better darn well have plans, actions, and results that compel us towards sacrifice and success. Let me share those with you.

All staff, including our Board and many volunteers, are fully involved almost continuously in assessing needs, threats, and opportunities, evaluating resources, developing plans and metrics, and relentlessly communicating to carry one another’s burdens and spur each other on. UrbanPromise is incredibly blessed to have a well built house – trusting relationships, a unique asset in a time of crisis which is characterized by social isolation and fear.

Our Crisis Planning Teams are UrbanPromise School, UrbanPromise Academy, Children’s Programming, and Administrative Support. Each is working on a 2 week, 8 week, and 6 month plan of action, adapted almost daily to new developments.

In the four days since I emailed you, the list below is just some of what UrbanPromise has done. We are working with almost 200 families and nearly 300 children. Actions include starting our UrbanPromise School in its new cyber form today, one of only a very small handful of schools in the entire state to achieve this in such short time (special shout out to Shannon Roberson, our fifth grade teacher, who really spearheaded this effort). What we are offering in home instruction is excellent. How it performs will have to be tested, but virtually every parent has been thankful and enthusiastic to have such clear communication and concrete actions.

Our parents are feeling a lot of stress, but they see our help as hope! I cannot say strongly enough how the staff have poured out their hearts and minds and bodies to move these mountains in these four days. I praise God for them! We are not strong or courageous because we are strong and courageous, nor are we immune from failure, pain, or death. Our hope, our strength to stand, is Christ.

Our Staff and families do need your help. We want you to be aware of what we are doing, so read these UPdates. We know you want to know what needs we identify and how you can respond and support our families. We also need your prayers. If you volunteer with us, or support a staff member, contact those staff directly and pray with them and encourage them. We will also send out our prayer requests that support our families and our staff. But here is something beautiful. There is no difference in the need of our families for prayer than the need of your family for prayer. We want to pray for youTell us how we can help you.

None of us know how this crisis will impact our finances, except that it will be negative. We know you will be hurting too. But the most under resourced among us, which includes most of our families, will feel the most stress and pain. UrbanPromise is standing in the gap, if you can help close that gap with us by making a donation, please follow this link. Help feels like hope, please give us some hope! Next week I will have a clearer picture of our new needs and offer additional details of ways your actions can share the help that feels like hope.

We are all in crisis and we can all stand together!
I am grateful to you and inspired by you. Thank you!


p.s. In fact, if you have any friends who feel isolated, anxious, or fearful, send them this email, introduce them to the power of Christ facing this crisis, and invite them to stand with us! Let them stand with us all!

Actions taken over the last four days!

  • Designed cyber schooling approach for UrbanPromise School (UPS, our elementary school); older students receiving instruction by Zoom, younger students via video clips. All teachers will be in regular contact with all students and families.
  • Staff from both schools met on Saturday to train on how the new design would be implemented
  • Contacted all UPS parents; arranged for each to pick up instruction and materials packets prior to school building lock down
  • Cyberschool for our elementary school begins today! (Wednesday) Zoom practice (who knew you could practice Zoom?!)
  • Called all students and parents in the Academy (UPA, our high school)
  • Established census of technology resources of our families (e.g, 43% of our high school. Students’ do not have internet, a computer of some kind, or both). Establishing strategies to get them free internet and hardware
  • Building off the UPS cyber approach, UPA is developing the model needed for its students taking into consideration their individual learning needs, family situation, feasible schedule, course load, homework expectations, and curriculum requirements. Target implementation Monday.
  • Set metrics to determine objectively how effectively our plans and expectations are being utilized by students in preparation for evolution and iterations needed to arrive at achievable expectations. For example, how much time are they actually studying, are they understanding the material or just moving on, how does this approach help or impair each student, and the like
  • Children’s Programming (CP) are reaching out to all parents and volunteers in our After
  • School Programs with a set of questions to assess concerns, identify needs, and offer encouragement and support. This includes resources and information about COVID19 and its consequences that is reliable and essential for their well being.
  • CP Staff plan to check in bi-weekly with children and families while looping in volunteers to maintain continuity of relationship.
  • CP Staff are praying at three designated times daily until the crisis passes
  • Developing significant new uniform communication approaches and platforms
  • Daily meetings by each Crisis Planning Team
  • Logistics: Mail, Invoices, Payroll, Phone system forwarding, asset lock down and security all adjusted for new reality and implemented
  • Redesigning multiple new approaches for a myriad of routine processes that must be executed in whole new ways

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