Supporting DTS Families through COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered all of our lives, challenging us in ways we never imagined. 
Our team at DTS is as DETERMINED as ever to support underserved students and their families.  For many years, we’ve helped students navigate unfamiliar territory and hone critical life skills like resilience, grit, and a growth mindset.  Today is no different.  Our operations have moved from the classroom to the computer screen, but the core of our program remains the same – to provide unwavering, holistic support to students who are determined to create a bright future for themselves.
A bit of good news:  To date, our high school seniors have been accepted to incredible colleges, both in state and across the country. While it is disappointing that our seniors will forgo the opportunity to visit campuses before committing (and a traditional high school graduation ceremony), we are confident that they each will land at their best-fit school and hope that they will be on campus in the fall.

In this month’s newsletter, we share with you some of the hardships facing DTS families and how we’re addressing them.  Low-income, first-generation students are disproportionately negatively impacted by distance learning.  For many of our high school students, the DTS classroom at Hamilton High School is a safe haven.  Their home environments aren’t conducive to learning, with many people living in a small space, in neighborhoods where it’s dangerous to walk around the block.  WiFi access is limited, making it impossible to keep up with schoolwork and communicate with teachers.  Without funds to purchase puzzles, games, or hobby supplies, students are watching endless hours of television.  Many of our students’ parents are laid off from their jobs; others are forced to work in high-risk environments to continue to provide for their families.  Families who rely on public transportation are having difficulty accessing LAUSD’s food pick-up locations.  Single parents have sent their children to live with relatives to keep them safe.  For students, the stress of transitioning to distance learning is exacerbated by feelings of guilt and worry as they see their parents struggle in new and painful ways. 
The DTS community was excitedly anticipating our first class of college graduates walking across the stage to receive their diplomas in just a few short months.  Over the last few weeks, however, our college seniors have been forced to quickly pack up their campus lives, say goodbye to their college friends, and move home.  They will receive their degrees, but that special moment in cap and gown they and their families have dreamed of for so many years will not happen.  We grieve with them this loss as we help them pivot and adapt to their new reality so that they can finish the semester strong.
Our staff is doing all that we can to ensure that the disruption by the COVID-19 situation does not derail a single DTS student from his or her goal of graduating from college. DTS remains steadfast in our mission to help underserved students realize their goals of high school and college graduation and set themselves on the path to fulfilling futures.  

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