A few weeks ago, we released Part One of our report on the impact of the over $500,000 in COVID-19 emergency funding that we released to address urgent community needs. This targeted emergency funding is an important first step, and as we assess the long-term effects of COVID-19 on our community, we continue to see the strong impact of this support. Here is a snapshot of more great results coming in from our community partners.
Supplementary Education - $24,000
When COVID-19 hit, one of the areas that had to shift very quickly was the part-time Jewish education sector: not only did supplementary schools have to quickly adapt their curriculum to a virtual format, but administrators and teachers also had to learn new supporting technology virtually overnight. Jewish Federation provided $24,000 to five synagogue-based supplementary schools to aid this transition to online learning. Here are highlights of how the funding has supported some of the schools’ achievements.
Beth Israel enhanced its online learning platforms, and provided training and additional compensation to their teachers to help them upgrade their online teaching skills and prepare for their new classes. Subsidies were also given to families who were having difficulty paying their Hebrew school fees.
Congregation Har El provided their teachers extra training in online learning and also acquired additional curriculum materials to support this new learning format. They have also extended their programming over the summer months to give Hebrew school families continued access to Jewish-themed activities.
Or Shalom purchased and installed much-needed technology upgrades and equipment to ensure they could effectively deliver their online programs. They also compensated their administrative staff and instructors for the additional time needed to re-design their curriculum and promote new online community programs and initiatives, which included a new weekly story time program for children and a four-week learning/support group for Jewish parents.
Temple Sholom was able to continue its classes after spring break with no pause in teaching days. They upgraded their Zoom account and other technological requirements, and provided their teachers with additional paid hours to learn how to teach remotely and adapt their curriculum accordingly. These adjustments enabled students to continue to learn with their classmates and the entire school to still meet together for their weekly “Ruach Rally”.
By transitioning to online learning, Temple Sholom was also able to invite students attending the White Rock Jewish Community Centre Hebrew School to participate in their classes. This opportunity provided these students with continuity in their learning and also enabled them to engage with new peers. Over the summer, Temple Sholom will be engaging staff to explore how the school can safely deliver face-to-face classes that abide by COVID-19 public health protocols.
Housing Support Services - $30,000
Tikva Housing Society continues to provide access to affordable housing for community members in need, and Jewish Federation provided $30,000 for rental subsidies to help those unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19. With this funding, Tikva has eliminated their wait list of clients seeking rental subsidies and helped eight families stay in private market housing to date. They have also assisted residents in Tikva-managed buildings who were ineligible for government rent subsidy programs.
Seniors Services - $5,500
Jewish Federation provided $5,500 in emergency funding to help the Jewish Seniors Alliance (JSA) augment their peer counselling support services. JSA has set up virtual volunteer support meetings to assist their team of volunteers who are reaching out to vulnerable seniors through friendly calls.
These volunteers are connecting regularly with more than 500 Jewish seniors who have been isolated during COVID-19, ensuring they are well and getting the help they need. JSA is also posting regular updates to their website to provide seniors and their family members with current information about available community programs and support services.
We recognize that is just the start, and that more funds will be needed in the medium and long-term to support our community’s COVID-19 recovery. Each of us will have a role to play, and Jewish Federation will be here to collaborate with our partners and lead the way.