As Founder & Executive Director of #YGAB, I couldn’t be more proud of the position we are in to continue serving our community as the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s always been my priority, along with our Board of Directors, to ensure we operate as lean and as efficient as possible. For the last few years, organizations across the country have been preparing for another recession and with our cyclical economy, we were sure to prepare as well. Since our inception, it’s been our goal to provide great programs with high satisfaction to numerous families, while using as few resources as possible. Due to our intense focus on utilizing our resources wisely and with care, we are proud to continue serving our community with a high bar during this most challenging time.
What we did not anticipate is a pandemic would push us into this recession and bring challenges none of us have faced before. This year, we are focusing on ways our programs can be implemented virtually to ensure our Directors, volunteers, and participants are as safe as possible. Although we will deeply miss seeing all of our young people, school administrators, and teachers in person, our community's safety is top priority. Despite shelter-in-place orders gradually being lifted, we will continue creating program roadmaps that offer opportunities for contactless connection for the remainder of the year. It is my promise that connecting virtually will not compromise the quality of the content we deliver.
In addition to transitioning our programs to a virtual environment, we’ve decided to focus our efforts on three major areas affecting the families in our communities today:
Child Abuse Prevention
Mental Health Advocacy for Families and Couples
Combatting Youth Homelessness
Since our world has been rocked with this pandemic, it’s been heartbreaking to see an increase in domestic violence and child abuse cases, as well as the stories we hear of community members who’ve fallen back into addiction. Over the last two weeks, we’ve also received an increase in the number of assistance requests for young people who have no place to go. Several nonprofit organizations have made tough decisions to layoff talented and skilled staff, or worst, close their doors. For these reasons, we're curating creative ways to engage the community in these areas and make an impact. During times of crisis, there is a Dr. King quote I often reference.
Family - we will never lose hope. In fact, to combat fear - we will remain hopeful. And to combat anxiety - we will remain grateful. No matter what circumstances you are each facing, I want you to know that as long as you have breath in your body - there will always be hope. There will always be an opportunity for things to turn around. My biggest breakthroughs have happened when I least expected. The YGAB family is hoping to facilitate the breakthroughs our brave men, women, and children so desperately deserve.
At YGAB, we are never short on #creativity. I’m honored to work with a Board of Directors who are the most creative and innovative humans I’ve had the pleasure to know. A couple ways we’ve already started thinking about being impactful is partnering with other nonprofits and working together to drive our common missions. It has never been more important to lock arms with our neighbors. Journey to Dream has the only Transitional Living Program for homeless teens working toward independence in Denton County. This week, we will be contributing to an incredible meal for the teen residents who are missing their high school prom. In addition, we’ve reached out to Our Calling to help increase awareness of safe emergency shelters and food pantries for our homeless youth in Dallas County and beyond.
I’m also thrilled to launch our new blog that will provide a creative outlet for our youth to share their voice, family resources for stress management, advice from community leaders, as well as skills we can all use to parent through this crisis. We’ve already received heart warming feedback on how much our youth appreciate having their work published so their friends and family can celebrate all the things that make them incredible human beings! I hope you will consider becoming a site member so you can participate by commenting on our blog posts and sharing your opinions on the topics we discuss.
This creative outlet is so vital as many of us are creating a new normal while in quarantine. I've personally gone through my own stages of grief as I will dearly miss the opportunities of face-to-face connection with the incredible men and women serving our community. Whether I'm with my Capital One family attending a Dynamic Women of Color Event where we heard top executives talk about the challenges they've conquered on their mission to be their authentic selves, while rising to the top of their organizations.
Or at a Women's Business Symposium hosted by Comerica Bank, where (every year) I hear from other female Entrepreneurs who've created products and services that raise expectations! There's no doubt that the connections I built at these events boost my self-esteem and give me confidence to take on any challenge I face. Through our blog, I'm excited about the opportunity to share the skills I've learned from these events, as well as various coping skills from industry experts that will help us manage the waves of emotion we are all experiencing. I can't wait to share the talents and insights that will be coming from the many amazing YGAB blog contributors through out the remainder of the year.
In conclusion, I’m grateful for the community we’ve built and our ability to collectively ride this wave. We are resilient and we were built for such a time as this. Thank you for supporting us and believing in our mission to serve. But most importantly, thank you for supporting and believing in our youth and the families that make this community strong. While COVID-19 is re-shaping the way we view the world, we are looking at this as an opportunity to re-shape our families and our young people by creating more resilient human beings. Together, we will STILL change the world!
Stay well and stay safe.
- Dasha Crosby
Founder & Executive Director
Youth Going Above & Beyond