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We're building a new normal for connection

News   |   March 24th, 2020

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As we head into social isolation as a nation, our young people and their whānau need connection more than ever. And we're ready.

Our team has been on the phones with our mentors, young people and their whānau over the last few days checking in with our Upside community. 

Among the many announcements this last week was one from the New Zealand Police, who said they are preparing for a spike in domestic violence due to COVID-19 stress. In times like this where anxiety is high, connectedness is vital for everyone - especially young people. And so we’re encouraging our mentors to stay in touch with their young people regularly because we know our young people need positive adult role modelling in their lives at this crucial time.

Our research with the University of Auckland in 2019 shows mentors offer support for families and can reduce household stress. They offer a supportive sounding board for children with adverse childhood experiences. They are a consistent and constant part of a child’s life in times of uncertainty. 

We are working to establish the needs of our community to make sure internet connection, data and hardware such as phones and tablets are available to the young people in their homes to ensure social isolation doesn’t lead to social disconnection. 

More than anything, we're building a new normal together. Messaging apps, video calls, online group hangouts and virtual events are going to become part of our immediate future. (And for one mentoring pair, old-school letter writing)!

While we navigate the next few weeks and months as a nation (and world), we are choosing to keep looking on the Upside. We will get through this time together - connected!