News: Member News

#Here4Students Highlights: Coffee Chats, Resource Guides, and (Lots of) Individual Phone Calls

Monday, April 20, 2020  
Posted by: Carm Saimbre, External Relations Associate
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Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve received and read so many uplifting stories about how our members are #Here4Students. The way NCAN members are stepping up for students and their families is nothing short of inspirational. It also speaks to the importance of a network – people you can turn to when you have questions, and in times of trouble or need.

Members: Thank you for being those people for nearly 2 million students across the country.

Here are a few #Here4Students highlights this week!

GEAR UP at Marion City Schools in Ohio is hosting coffee chats for their seniors as a way to stay connected. There is no preset agenda for the chats, but staff do answer any questions students may have. Site Director Kelly Garrett says she’s not sure who’s more excited to jump on the Google meetups – staff or students!

The programs team at Partnership for the Future in Virginia is encouraging students to stay safe and keep their eyes on the bigger picture to see their futures “as bright and exciting as ever.” That encouragement also comes with room for students to express worries about their circumstances.

“We are allowing a space for students to express their fears and concerns and offering them individualized self-help tools to manage their stress and anxiety while combating boredom at home,” said Tiffany Thomas, director of programs at Partnership for the Future.

Like many other organizations, Woodward Hines Education Foundation in Mississippi quickly pivoted to providing virtual support instead of the usual in-person appointments and workshops. They had some concerns about shifting from their usual model, but it’s been well received.

“We are seeing loads of individual virtual appointments and an increase in our chats,” said Courtney Lange, director of communications and impact at Woodward Hines Education Foundation. “We are also hosting daily ACT office hours, virtual workshops for classrooms, and hosting admissions chats with all of the two- and four-year college admissions counselors across the state.”

College Success Foundation in Washington created a COVID-19 Resource Guide, their centralized response to support families and students during this time. Curated with students in mind, key topics include education and online learning, college, foster youth, financial and community resources. College Success Foundation also established the CSF COVID-19 Student Support Fund, which will help students hit hardest by the pandemic.

Alabama Possible is hosting webinars to discuss the financial aid and admissions processes during COVID-19. They also have two great blog posts stacked with resources – one for counselors and educators, and one for students and families. Some of the resources are also available in Spanish.

Denver Scholarship Foundation has broken down their response to COVID-19 into need categories: food, technology, health care, wage resources, and housing. Their program team is polling students, tracking services and student contacts, and combining information to understand more about common needs.

Operation Jump Start in California is offering one-on-one counseling for every single one of their students. Their Master of Social Work interns and Licensed Clinical Social Workers are providing this counseling over the phone or by video chat. Similarly, the School District of Lancaster in Pennsylvania is reaching out to every senior in the district to offer support, including connecting with students on social media to celebrate college acceptances. In the midst of these challenges, it’s important to recognize the class of 2020 and remind them that their hard work is still worthy of celebrating.

At College Bound in Missouri, the focus is on immediate needs – helping families access basic needs through partner organizations and assisting recent alumni to take advantage of the six-month interest-free period on student loans.

“The College Bound connection is lifelong and our relationships with students run deep,” said Sarah Plumb, senior manager, grants & communications at College Bound. “When the initial crisis is over, we will be here to help students and families recover long-term.”

How is your organization supporting students during this time? Let us know via this Google form or on social media using the hashtag #Here4Students.

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