“Operating Non-Profits During A Pandemic”
In this episode, host Alex Woodall is joined by Simran Tandon in sitting down with 3 local nonprofits to understand the impact they have faced since the start of the pandemic closure.
The first they are joined by is Tyler Singaglia from the nonprofit “Hope Fest” in Sammamish. This nonprofit’s goal is to run their festival (“Hope Fest”) once a year, with the intent to provide clothing, groceries, supplies, and more to those in our community who need them. They also provide services including hair cuts and dental care, as well as many other resources. Hope Fest partners with other nonprofits and local service providers to give back to over 1000 participants a year. They are an entirely youth run nonprofit, primarily involving high school students from our community. This years event was scheduled to be March 14th, but was cancelled this year due to the closure. Though it was a tough decision to make, they are glad they ended up cancelling to air on the side of caution. While he’s unsure how social distancing measures will continue to impact him, Tyler is willing to continue to make creative outlets. Working with Bellevue School District, Hope Fest was still able to provide 300 hygiene kits to the community. The need for these products is still there, and they are passionate to continue working towards their goal of being able to provide. Their impact as a nonprofit from the pandemic closure is being unable to fundraise, as well as tackling unexpected costs. As a community, we in Sammamish can support them and do our part by helping out small businesses and continuing to donate to nonprofits.
Kimberely Frutel, founder of Kids Coming Together, an organization almost completely run by students, joins the episode next. This nonprofit runs with the goal of creating bonds between local teens and youth. Originally, they would gather in small groups to bring together youth in-person, where High School kids could bond with younger kids to build relationships within the community. When Covid-19 hit, Kimberley says it truly shut them down. Now, they focus on the future. At the moment, they have a brand new youth board composed of high school students to prepare for the coming school year. In the meantime, 3 times a week, they have teens and youth come together virtually and play/bond together online. For now, they continue to respect the stay-home mandate, Kimberly adds, but are hopeful to adapt to guidelines if they loosen. To continue giving back to the community, they are currently working on making cards for first responders and reaching out to different demographics in our community. Until they are able to meet again, they are excited to continue building bonds and serving the community virtually. Community members can help by donating on their website at www.kidscomingtogether.com or through the Lake Washington School District. They are always looking for adults to help out, and oversee these high school students and kids, or just people to help with technology and community events. If you’re willing to help, they’ll find something for you!
Marnie Kurtz, from Athletes for Kids, a youth mentoring program, sits down with us next. In this nonprofit, students from high schools around our community are paired with younger kids with special needs or disabilities, called “buddies”.
This program is run off-campus, in the buddy’s home. Covid has impacted them by preventing the mentors from seeing their buddies each week. For some of these buddies, their mentors are the only contact they see weekly besides their parents. They’ve had to respond quickly, and make sure the communication is still there every week, but now virtually. Their mentorship services have been impacted through the staff element of not being able to meet in person, but have adapted with online video calling. They are hopeful that these closure measures will improve in time, but in the meanwhile are still adamant on maintaining the bond between teens and their buddies.