Celebrating 10 Years of VSP!
Happy 10th birthday VSP! This was not quite the birthday celebration we had anticipated. Mass civil unrest in Chile and a global pandemic made our work of providing critical support to the kids who need it most more important than ever. The events of this year did not leave us much time to blow out birthday candles. However, our one birthday wish is that you give as generously as you are able so VSP can continue our life-changing work with our students.
2020 was a testament to the organization we have built together. From the beginning of the pandemic, it was evident that challenging situations in our students’ lives were about to be amplified. We moved quickly to address the most pressing issues, including emergency shortages of medicine, sanitary supplies and food insecurity among our students. From there, we increased our support by partnering with other local organizations and government agencies to provide monthly deliveries of food and sanitary supplies, reaching over 600 people per delivery.
The civil unrest and pandemic have kept our kids from attending school in-person since October 2019. The toll these events are having on our kids’ emotional and physical well-being is significant. When schools went remote in March, our students were left behind with limited internet connections and minimal communication with their teachers. After addressing the most pressing basic needs, we bridged educational gaps by hand delivering school assignments and providing individualized academic support through phone calls and social media.
In 2021 it is imperative that we build on these support systems. VSP students, like so many others around the globe, are facing an educational crisis. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the education and well-being of youth from vulnerable communities, including those we serve in Valparaíso. Only 9% of teachers in Chile believe their students can complete their studies on their own, and 63% of students have not been able to contact their teachers for guidance or to ask questions (UNESCO 2020). To combat these disparities, we are piloting an online platform and program to connect students to tutors and mentors to meet their academic needs and keep them engaged. We are recruiting a network of qualified volunteers and providing devices and internet access to students in need.
Beyond academics, the VSP platform will promote mental and physical well-being through at-home activities and foster connections between students, mentors, and social workers. It will give our students the community and support they very much need. This virtual space will be essential for VSP students to tackle current challenges head on. It will continue to be a valuable resource post-pandemic to make our organization bigger and better.
Together we have delivered a decade of transformative programming. Your support has helped position us to respond to this moment, but tremendous challenges lie ahead. As our students weather this precarious and difficult storm, let's make sure we give them everything they need to succeed. Please make a generous year end contribution to help them thrive.
Donate online here. Donations can also be made through Venmo @Valpo.
Wiley Todd Abigale McLagan
CEO & Founder Development Coordinator