I hope that you and your family are safe and healthy as we continue to navigate through this very challenging time. On behalf of the Center for Urban Families’ (CFUF) Board and staff, I want to thank you again for your continued support that is making a meaningful difference throughout our community. Three weeks ago, I shared with you how CFUF is responding to COVID-19. Since then a lot has happened, and I’d like to share with you a few updates.
As anticipated, we are hearing from our members about challenges—losing their jobs, transportation service disruptions, and being overwhelmed with anxiety over how they are going to feed their families. For example, K.H. came to STRIVE (our signature workforce development program) in January, shortly after being released from incarceration. He successfully completed the program and was referred to a CFUF employer partner soon after the state was placed under a stay-at-home order and the MVA began limiting public access. As a result, K.H. could not secure a Maryland State ID, a requirement for the job. K.H. was devastated. He needed to work. Upon hearing about K.H.’s situation, CFUF staff began advocating on his behalf. As a result, the employer waived the requirement and K.H. was recently hired. The CFUF team secured a bus pass for K.H. and he is scheduled to begin work on Monday.
K.H. epitomizes the resilience of our members. I’ve seen many of them endure and overcome obstacles because someone cared and supported them at their most vulnerable moment—someone like a CFUF team member.
COVID-19 hasn’t slowed us down. Thanks to the CFUF ALL In team’s ingenuity and innovativeness, we are now providing all CFUF programs remotely. The Baltimore Responsible Fatherhood Project has been holding group sessions by telephone conference call since we began working remotely on March 16th. We’ve also adapted our STRIVE workforce training curriculum to a video-conferencing and game-based learning platform, and, since March 30th, have been delivering the training virtually.
In addition, we continue to match our members with employer partners who are hiring during the COVID-19 crisis. We also continue to recruit and take applications; conduct assessments; connect members to emergency assistance; provide emotional support and encouragement; update partners; and provide remote case management.
Community members needing support during the COVID-19 pandemic can now connect with us through our website (www.cfuf.org) by clicking a link on our homepage and filling out a brief information form. CFUF staff then follow up with each individual. To date, we’ve been able to assist with requests for job training and placement, eviction prevention, and food.
I have said it before and I will say it again: “I have the best team in the world.” Although, the medical experts are predicting things will get worse before they get better, I am comforted in knowing that CFUF’s Board, staff, and friends, like you, are “ALL In” for our members and for Baltimore. We will come through this experience stronger, wiser, and closer together. #StrongerTogether.
I will continue to provide periodic updates to let you know how we’re doing. Meanwhile, please stay safe and if you have any questions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph T. Jones, Jr.,
Founder/President and CEO