Donor Briefing Recap: Youth Disrupted

How young people in Greater New Haven have responded to COVID-19.

COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of millions, and young people are no exception. The once normal routines of riding the school bus, sitting in classes, attending after-school programs or simply hanging out with friends have been transformed during quarantine. At the same time, youth have shown resiliency and become among the most vocal leaders in the movement to support Black lives and protest abusive policing.

During a June 29 Donor Briefing, two youth program directors discuss the impacts of the pandemic on youth and the challenges all youth programs are facing in the new landscape.


Addys Castillo, Executive Director, Citywide Youth Coalition

Henry Fernandez, Executive Director, LEAP (Leadership Education Athletics in Partnership)

Facilitated by Christina Ciociola, Senior Vice President for Grantmaking and Strategy

View the Recording

What We Heard

  • Disruptions are occurring across the board and disparities that pre-existed COVID-19 have become worse.
  • Thousands of children never checked in to virtual classrooms after schools closed. High-speed Wi-Fi and one-to-one computer access is needed for all students being asked to learn online.
  • Social distancing has resulted in young people missing opportunities to build social and emotional skills.
  • Teachers and directors of education and youth programs have struggled to adopt new models overnight with little to no prior experience or training.
  • Youth unemployment has skyrocketed.
  • Youth leaders are stepping up as the major voices in local demonstrations and political actions.
  • Programs such as LEAP have implemented extensive protocols to try to host in person programming this summer.
  • New Haven is a city where people work together to try to tackle big problems.

What We Can Do

  • Advocate for equitable access to Wi-Fi and computing technology for distance learning.
  • Continue to support nonprofit general operations.

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