Message from Executive Director Dee Parker Wright on Coronavirus

March 18, 2020

Dear friends, families, and supporters,

Jubilee JumpStart is using this mantra for all of our work during the coronavirus pandemic and closure: Practicing the 3 Cs – We are Calm, Caring and Connected.

This is what children need all of the time and it is what they, along with their parents and teachers, particularly need at this time. We are following the CDC and DC’s Department of Health guidelines and relying on our 10 years of operational knowledge to stay calm. We are using one of our highest values of caring as our filter for making decisions that allow us to continue supporting our Jubilee JumpStart community of families and staff through this challenging time. And we have developed new ways to remain connected so that staff, parents, and children do not feel isolated but informed and engaged.

All of this makes perfect sense and was our primary focus of the past week. Now that these big decisions have been made and our 3C initiatives are in place, we are focused on how our organization will actually survive. The biggest impact we face is that our Building Blocks Breakfast scheduled for May 8 must be canceled per the CDC’s guidelines. This event is our only large fundraiser of the year and was expected to raise $100,000 which is 20% of our contributed income for the year. When we tell parents we can relate to their anxiety and panic about the financial fallout of this crisis, we mean it from the bottom of our hearts and spreadsheets!

We know that any health, environmental, and/or financial crisis hits vulnerable populations hardest. Jubilee JumpStart exists to support specifically those vulnerable people – young children, low-income families, and child care workers. While this crisis plays out, our children will be at higher risk, our families will struggle more to make ends meet and our teachers will be stressed by uncertainty about their own school commitments and job futures. Children, parents and staff (along with all of us) are no doubt experiencing trauma now and re-living earlier traumas. THIS is our work – Jubilee JumpStart helps parents and staff be able to provide the very best care for children with the very greatest need.

Our children will come back to us with MORE NEED. They will all need the safety, warmth, and normalcy they have always found at Jubilee JumpStart more than ever.

These folks NEED Jubilee JumpStart to be strong and stable during and after this crisis. But we are worried that our financial concerns will distract us from that important need as we look forward into a gaping $100K hole. We must be brave and bold in asking our supporters to join us in strengthening Jubilee JumpStart to strengthen our children and families. A loss of $100K will result in the loss of these critical things that make Jubilee JumpStart a place of growth, healing, and learning:

  • Family Support Staff to provide resources and support to struggling parents
  • Family Engagement Programming that builds community and connection among our parents and staff
  • A 3rd full-time teacher in every classroom to ensure continuity of care and strong social-emotional development

These are not “extras.” They are vitally important to the quality and power of Jubilee JumpStart to make a difference for vulnerable children, parents, and staff.

A parent came to pick up her infant’s belongings on our first closed day and said with her eyes full of tears and a quivering voice “This center is my only real community. I don’t know what I will do tomorrow.” We encouraged her to be in touch through our new Jubilee JumpStart Family Connection Facebook Group and by using our Family Directory, as well as emailing staff at any time. We also loaded her up with extra diapers, formula, and cereal, along with a few books. Her eyes calmed a bit and she said she would use all of these connections and supports, but would also count the days until her baby boy could be in Lidia’s arms and listening to Asela sing again while she gets back to work. We too are counting the days until then and counting on our amazing community of supporters to strengthen us for the immense needs we will be facing together.

Please consider making a boldly generous gift now so that Jubilee JumpStart can remain 3C Strong for our children, families, and teachers and emerge from this crisis as the center and community they need.

With all of my gratitude and best wishes,

Dee Dee Parker Wright