The better the question
How do you make sure lockdown doesn’t mean locked out?
When a crisis strikes, it often hits vulnerable groups hardest. COVID-19 is no different. As the pandemic has progressed, people’s experiences of it are being shaped by existing inequalities.
Students in low-income families may face disproportionate pressures in lockdown – from parents at higher risk of job loss to challenging living spaces to fewer resources for home schooling. This polarizing effect has implications for young people that may last long into the future.
The better the answer
By moving to a virtual model to empower students and support their futures
When Florida’s stay-at-home order closed Miami Central Senior High School, a team of EY College MAP mentors was determined their students would be supported.
Miami Central Senior High School is typical of the schools in the EY College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) scheme, which runs across the US. Most students are from low-income families, and college is often seen as out of reach and expensive. The College MAP mentors work hard to change that view – encouraging and helping students to apply, obtain financial aid, and build the skills they need to do well at college.
With lockdown, this work was under threat. The EY teams could see that the application process and costs would only seem more daunting – and that it was vital they kept open lines of support.
The better the world works
EY teams worked to help ensure students would not miss out on their college dreams
Students received online tutorials, participated in group meetings and received care packages from EY professionals.
As College MAP students already receive tablets or laptops from EY, the team was able to move to an online model fast. Now, each student has virtual sessions with two or three mentors, and mentors are reviewing resumes and personal statements over email. Group video meetings have included a talk with a financial planning coach and on “Navigating the COVID-19 crisis” with a focus on mental health and how to succeed in a virtual learning environment. The team also sent care packages, including snacks and studying essentials, such as flash cards, highlighters and pencils. While those most in need of financial assistance have received EY scholarships.
As Rick Gonzalez, a partner at Ernst & Young LLP United States Miami office [and mentor] says: “When Florida went into lockdown, we couldn’t see our students locked out of their plans. COVID-19 is causing a lot of disruption to our students’ lives right now – it mustn’t rewrite their futures too.”
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