Connect For Good with Microsoft and Amazon
This fall, we hosted two Connect for Good volunteer opportunities for Emerging Leader 365s at two local Seattle companies: Amazon and Microsoft.
In September, 25 stellar volunteers from Amazon all came together to rally around early childhood education. In light of COVID-19, education in the home has been put under a spotlight, as families have suddenly found themselves treating their homes as classrooms as well. This is particularly challenging for communities of refugee and immigrants, as COVID-19 has only exacerbated the structural challenges they faced already. ParentChild+ normally helps families prepare their kids for kindergarten over a two-year period through home visits. In the wake of a global pandemic, as our world has become a virtual one practically overnight, so have these home visits.
The volunteers from Amazon recognized that this rapid change is posing unique challenges to parents and kids enrolled in ParentChild+, and that virtual learning is not always ideal. Partnering with the Iraqi Community Center of Washington, these resourceful volunteers sent over 40 home learning kits to the refugee and immigrant families that IRCCW serves in Seattle and South King County.
According to Noor Alaswad, Program Coordinator at IRCCW, ParentChild+ supports Iraqi families by helping them to overcome the challenges of the foreign education system, provides them equal access to meet basic needs, and supports them to overcome any barriers to self-sufficiency, which are all broader goals of the organization’s mission. Home “visits” have become more holistic since the quarantine, including check ins on the overall health of the family and not just the education portion. IRCCW is truly setting an example of how to act as true stewards of community empowerment, and our Amazonian volunteers showed up for it!
Following a successful Connect for Good at Amazon, Microsoft kicked off their project as a part of Microsoft Give month. Over two virtual sessions, 10 participants got a deep dive into the program, which included the chance the hear directly from a Parent Child+ provider and participate a robust discussion on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, and the intersection of this impact on early learning and childcare.
In addition to learning about ParentChild+, the Microsoft cohort put together and sent diaper boxes to a ParentChild+ partner agency, InterCultural Children and Family Services, and engaged in a peer to peer fundraising campaign, raising over $2,500 to support the program.
Here is what Anand had to say about his experience:
“This year has been challenging for everyone. As someone who recently became a father for the first time, I know juggling work and childcare is difficult. That’s why I was glad to learn that United Way is providing support for families to help their children succeed via the Parent-Child+ program. With two deep dive sessions, Connect for Good made me aware of how early childhood is pretty crucial to ensuring success for children, and providing one on one support from coaches from the same language and cultural background is key to helping children be prepared for school.”
Between diaper boxes and home learning kits, these amazing Microsoft and Amazon volunteers have shown that community care is not location-specific. They adapted to a virtual setting and provided strategic support, and our neighbors with InterCultural Children and Family Services and the Iraqi Community Center of Washington are feeling the love!