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Providing support to teachers as classes resume during COVID-19

By: Alyson Gourley-Cramer, Communications advisor
 
As COVID-19 infection numbers began to rise earlier this year, it quickly became evident how serious the situation was as workplaces and schools were forced to shut their doors. No one could have predicted the challenges and emotional hardships faced by teachers, parents and guardians, and children. Now, as everyone prepares for a new school year, new challenges have surfaced, leading to uncertainty about what lies ahead.
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calmversationTM learning foundation, a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, is hoping to help ease some of that uncertainty with its Back-to-School Care Kit. Created with funding from the Canadian Red Cross through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, calmversationTM created the free 12-week kit to support educators across Canada in easing students’ transition back to school.
 
“The kits are designed to support teachers regardless if they are teaching in the classroom, online or both. The prep work is taken away so they can focus on the kids and have meaningful conversations,” says Jena Sharma, Founder of calmversationTM.Photo of desk
 
The kit consists of 40 lesson plans released each week for teachers and homeschoolers, providing a step-by-step social and emotional learning program to help students navigate their return to school, in-person or virtually. It also helps tackle the impacts of COVID-19 by addressing mental health and wellness through the creation of dynamic workshops and live events. The additional funds have also allowed them to do the unthinkable during a pandemic: expand their team to further meet the needs of community.
 
During a time of uncertainty and instability, the Care Kit aims to support educators by creating a safe, joyful and connected learning experience through resources, tools and educational support. Teachers and homeschoolers across the country can access the kits in English, for free, until November 30.
 
“We never thought a crisis would bring understanding and light to this situation. The timing, support, care and compassion we received from the Canadian Red Cross will forever be appreciated. We just felt so respected as an organization that was just trying to make a difference,” says Sharma.
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The team hopes to help 75,000 children and teachers this year, reaching as many classrooms as possible across Canada. In addition to the kits, a series of online workshops and live Facebook events will be released to engage educators on subjects related to the current social climate, address concerns, and provide community support and training. They’ll also visit schools virtually and host learning sessions to walk educators through the program.
 
“What the Red Cross has done for us sends a powerful message,” says Sharma. “They picked us up during this time of need to help others. It feels like a miracle and we never could’ve imagined the possibilities – we are forever grateful.”
 
To access the free Back-to-School Care Kit visit www.calmversation.org.
 
The Canadian Red Cross is funding the continuation of this work thanks to the generous support of the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund granting program.

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calmversationTM learning foundation, a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, has created a free 12-week Back-to-School Care Kit to support educators in easing students’
transition back to school. With funding from the Canadian Red Cross through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, the consists of 40 lesson plans for teachers and homeschoolers, providing a step-by-step social and emotional learning program to help students navigate their return to school, in-person or virtually.
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