- Featured, Letter from Executive Director

Kicking COVID Day 24: Volunteer Voices

“Thank you and UPS staff for your support and effort for our families as a whole and working for Christ Jesus and your continuous concerns not only to US but your FAMILY as well! God bless and be safe…”

– parent note to Rhonda Raines, UPS principal

UPdate Summary
-StreetLeader tutoring restarted (thank you Volunteers!)
-UPS and UPA schools sustain strong attendance
-PPP submitted, now we pray! (bet a lot of you are too 🙂 )
-Donor support has been strong considering all you face, too.  Thank you.

Andrea Miller shares what it’s like to be a cyber volunteer at Camp Amen

Dear Friend,

24 days, are you kidding me?! Feels like we might be on dog years (which would make 24 days about 168 days. Yeah, that feels about right). On the plus side I’d be eligible for full Social Security in just 330 days. Indulge my fantasy, it might help me cope!

Speaking of coping, I’d love to hear from you about small coping ideas. For example, coffee with cream. I run out of cream, but I want to avoid popping out to get more every three days (I like coffee with my cream; oh, and do any of you have new mouths to feed in the house and a keen awareness of when the hot water will run out?). Necessity is the mother of invention – evaporated milk! It works! Who needs cream? I live to cope another day!

Email me what coping secrets you have discovered, we’ll take the best and share them. Maybe we could publish a COVID calendar, with a coping mechanism ‘quote’ for each day. Shoot, that’s another coping mechanism. I’d recommend one of those pad kind, so we can tear off each day, crumple it up, stomp on it, maybe say bad words at it, and slam dunk it in the trash (if you have a garbage disposal, that could be quite satisfying, too). When COVID is over we could all meet up in a group somewhat larger than 10 and have a bon fire.

Loving one another is always going to be our best coping mechanism. You have done that so well to us at UP. Thank you! One way we feel that love is the old and new volunteers, undaunted by cyber limitations, who are loving our staff and kids. Cindy Huffman started this fall. I’m delighted to share her experience on Kicking COVID, in a beautiful, practical, and sustained way. 

We welcome your voices, they are beautiful to us and help sustain us when coping isn’t enough.

Peace and stay healthy!

StreetLeaders and volunteers at Monday night tutoring.

Volunteer Voice: Cindy Huffman

I think we can all agree these are challenging times!  One of the biggest challenges is being able to maintain close relationships with those we care about.  Another big challenge is somehow feeling useful, when the battle against the coronavirus is being fought so hard by so many, but we are not medical personnel or first responders.

Last week, I had the privilege of returning to tutoring at the UrbanPromise Academy, now as an online volunteer.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure how well it was going to work.  Turns out… it worked really well!

Ms. Choe had set up a Zoom classroom where we could all see each other, share smiles and hellos and math materials, play math games, and break out into smaller groups so we could work one on one.  We even had access to a whiteboard so that we could write and type math problems and work through solutions together.  Kudos to the teachers and staff for making this technology work for us, and kudos to the students for working so well with the technology and for staying on task and focused on the math.  I think everyone has worked really hard to make this adjustment, and it shows.  It is paying off in learning.  And it does the heart of an old math teacher good!

Resuming tutoring, even online, made my day.  I had missed working with the students!  I had missed their faces, their laughter, their collaboration with each other.  I already knew, but I realized again, how much these relationships have come to mean to me.  It is a joy to know that we can maintain them even now.

As we were signing off, it also struck me how good it felt to feel useful.  Hopefully I’m helping the students.  I know for sure they are helping me – by letting me do math with them!

We are all trying to do our best and to be good Christians. Those of us who volunteer, or who would like to tutor or mentor, can help the students.  But they are also helping us

– Cindy

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