"There's never been a better time for America to get healthy. If you start eating optimally, start fitting physical activity into your shelter-in-place routine, start getting enough sleep, that can affect your immune system in hours, certainly in days, and a whole lot in the span of weeks.....Let's turn this into an opportunity to get healthy. It will protect you in the short run, it'll protect your loved ones, and when this is over, we'll be a healthier nation into the bargain."
-Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, Past-President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Founder/President of the True Health Initiative, and Founder/CEO of Diet ID, Inc.
We’ve been adjusting to shelter-in-place by redirecting our efforts to reaching people online , including through social media, text, phone and zoom calls with participants. We’re also using the down time for professional development and to maintain facilities. We recognize that this crisis is impacting the kids we work with in lots of ways, and we’re reaching out to help make sure that they’re active, in good spirits, and well fed. We’re instituting a chromebook lending program for kids who don’t have access to the technology to keep them connected. We’re also doing social media fitness challenges to keep them active. In addition, we’re reaching out personally to check in with kids and keeping an eye out for signs of depression, hunger, or abuse, and we’re working with our behavioral health partners to make sure we know what to look for and when and how to refer kids to the help they need. We’re working with our Food Hub distribution programs to make sure their families are getting the food they need.
Here are some quotes and examples of how our Rec staff are leveraging Zoom and social media to continue their important work:
“Zoom meetings are working! In one case, we ended up on a call with one youth for over an hour discussing his Individual Development Plan (IDP). We received an email later from him and his parent with a heartfelt thank you.” - Omar (Soccer Head Coach)
“One of our 2012 team members was not feeling motivated. After the Zoom meeting with the team, his mom sent a photo of her son dripping with sweat after a great workout, and letting us know that his workouts are much more intense. But the bottom line is that all the kids miss being able to play soccer together.” - Bijan (Soccer Coach)
“We received a message from a parent asking me to call their child who was feeling very down about not being able to play soccer. After the call, we realized that we should set up a Zoom call for the whole team to keep them connected. The calls are perfect for giving the kids activities, trainings, and other ways to get moving.” - Ricky (Soccer Coach)
“A mom reached out through Facebook to say, ‘thank you for being an inspiration to my son!’ based on an intervention from over two years ago! After the incident, the mom ended up getting her son involved in boxing, and after all this time, she is still thankful for Manny being there for her and her son.” - Manny (Boxing Coach)
“Personal check-ins with kids were hard this week. People seem to be feeling the impact of COVID more, but we’re pleased to be able to support the kids through the content we’re posting our social media platforms and keeping an open door for outreach.” – Manny
“I’ve been working at the pantry twice a week, and one of the DSAL boxers asked to volunteer as well. She really enjoyed giving back, and she wants to do more!” Mickey (HAS Fitness Coach)
Micky is also creating interview questions for the virtual check-ins to see how the kids are feeling and to create an open safe space to speak to each other.
Jessica (REACH Fitness Coach) has been busy engaging with the community through Instagram and other social media channels. Youth from the REACH youth center have also been in communication with her throughout shelter in place. Jessica keeps an “open door” and is glad youth feel comfortable reaching out to her.
Angie (Muevete Instructor) checks with her adult students over text. One of the ladies told her that her family doesn't have food because her husband lost his job. Angie shared the food access information with her, and the lady thanked her immensely and told her that she is an angel.
Rich (Drumline Instructor) created a google hangout for his class so that they can communicate and spend more time with their peers. His class of middle schoolers don't have much access to social media, so Rich creates safe pathways of communication to keep them connected, and lessen that feeling of loneliness for them.
Dig Deep Farms & Food Hub
Dig Deep Farms & Food Hub continues to work to get healthy food to those who need it. In addition to continuing to develop our farms to produce healthy food for the community, we are also working with multiple partners around the county to develop and manage food pick up and delivery programs.
We’re working with ALL IN Alameda County to continue Food as Medicine as a pick up and delivery model, as well as organizing funding for local businesses to stay in business while safely supplying food to those in need.
We’re working with schools to make sure their excess food is delivered to those who need it, and we are also working to provide meal delivery to families who can’t or shouldn’t leave the house during Shelter-in-Place.
We’re working with county agencies, cities, and the local chamber of commerce to support local businesses and deploy all the resources we can muster to address the extreme levels of food insecurity that this crisis is causing.
We're working with the Food Recovery Network and the City of Hayward to reach out to all the producers of food who are still operating to make sure that no food is going to waste. We've also raised over $200,000 to pay local food producers who would otherwise be shuttered, to produce meals for families who are out of work and going hungry.
For the last several Fridays we’ve held food pickups to distribute recovered food, fresh produce from our farms, and prepared meals donated by local caterers and restaurants. We’ve had lines of cars waiting up to two hours in advance of the start time--many picking up food for multiple families. Some people drove all the way from Livermore! We also found ways to distribute leftover produce, which included; having our deputies take food to local homeless people and low-income housing projects on their beats; extending our hours of operation; and delivering food through the Castro Valley Mother's group. We have several employees from other DSAL teams who have offered to work for the Food Hub and they’re doing an amazing job. These people are really committed, as are our unpaid volunteers.