Shannen, a peer connector, and Ignacio, an intern with King County's Reconnect to Opportunity at a recent Back to School resource fair in Tukwila.
In their Own Words: Young People Describe the Impact of COVID-19 documents the lived experiences, needs, and strengths of 215 youth during the pandemic, and leads with their recommendations so that those working to respond, support, and rebuild are doing so with direct input from young people.
This report—a collaboration between Road Map Project partners at the King County’s Reconnect to Opportunity, Soar, and Community Center for Education Results—expands on a survey designed for and by youth, and showcases six main themes that illustrate the interconnectedness of health, education, and employment.
The findings echo that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by two pandemics: COVID-19 and systemic racism. The struggle to meet basic needs compounded by racial injustice and an upheaval to daily life has most negatively impacted young people of color. Many have shared that supportive and sustained relationships between school staff and students are key to making remote learning work. Additionally, while they remain resilient and resourceful in face of setbacks with their education, employment, and life goals, they emphasize mental health supports are vital to help cope with this incredibly challenging and uncertain time in their lives.