Dear Kids Hope team,
Despite the challenges during this unprecedented season, Kids Hope has been able to provide support to children in vulnerable circumstances with the successful launch of our National Pen Pal program. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Schools and parents turned to Kids Hope looking for support and they found it.
Most states are progressively returning to less restricted conditions including children back in school. Mentors are progressively returning to face-to-face mentoring, however, there are resurgences in the health situation causing lockdown conditions to recur in some areas.
Recently the Victorian government issued a lockdown for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, which means no Kids Hope mentoring can take place in those areas during the lockdown period.
This type of lockdown can happen in any State at any time, just as it did previously in North West Tasmania. We need to stay tuned to our State Health Department websites and reputable news outlets for ongoing updates.
Recent National Program Manager updates have outlined the Kids Hope approach – Mentors can only return to schools, with the following provisions:
There is no resurgence of COVID19 and the government regulations allow a return to school
The principal of the partner school is allowing visitors to return
Each mentor is advised of any new hygiene and social distancing protocols put in place by the school
The mentor has done their own personal health and risk assessment before resuming face-to-face mentoring. This is a personal choice made by the mentor with their personal situation and circumstances factored in.
In addition to the above provisions, if you feel safe, you can resume mentoring. However, if there are any immune issues or vulnerability factors, or even just personal discomfort, a mentor should not participate in face-to-face mentoring but instead should utilise the Pen Pal program.
Mentors are advised to continue with the Pen Pal program when the provisions as described above are not met – when face-to-face mentoring is not permitted.
The focus of this season has been on maintaining connection with children who rely on their mentor for care, joy and hope. The Kids Hope Pen Pal program has made this possible during the health crisis. Please do not be discouraged if you don’t hear back from your child. Know that they are blessed by your communication as it reminds them that they are cared for and not forgotten during these challenging times. Contact with mentors may be just the thing that keeps hope alive in the hearts of mentored children during the periods of lockdown, so please be encouraged to keep the communication going.
Whether a mentor, coordinator, supporter or volunteer, many of you are doing your part to bring hope to children, and we are incredibly grateful for you.
We continue to pray for health and safety for all.
Kids Hope CEO