COVID-19 has disrupted life for all Americans, including youth, who find access to their peer-groups has been restricted because of school closures and other social distancing measures. Young people may also feel that they are shouldering their families’ anxieties and concerns. We previously posted a list of COVID-19 resources from the nation’s top public health organizations on how to help support young people during challenging times.
We’ve heard from many CADCA coalitions across the U.S. that have expanded their efforts to engage and minimize the impact of social distancing on their youth during these unprecedented times. We felt it was important to gather these activities and strategies and share them with you, to further the conversation about prevention during COVID-19. To discuss these and other strategies, visit the CADCA Community.
Helping Youth Cope with Stress/Transition to Online Work
- Alexandro Perez (CADCA Community): I tested a Riddle Me a Treasure Hunt with our youth group where I separate the youth in groups by using Zoom Break Rooms then sending the riddle through “broadcast all” option. The riddle would give them an item to find in their home, and the first person to return to the main meeting will get the point for their team. If it was a large household item like a fridge, they would take a picture, not from Google. They loved it.
- Alexandro Perez (CADCA Community): Next week we are trying a Zoom version of the Food Network Chopped cooking series. We call them Fun Friday’s. Most kids in our area have reported feeling overwhelmed with all the schoolwork and busier than ever. Also, some of them are stressed because their electives have been removed… so the kids love to just have a Zoom meeting where they can just have fun, relax and connect with their friends and peers.
- Lauren Hansen (CADCA Community): We hosted a virtual “8th Grade Transition to High School” panel last week and had 780 people register— we had one Zoom webinar for parents and one Zoom meeting simultaneously with 8th graders and current high school students. Our youth coalition ran the student meeting with the 8th graders. It was a great way to help ease stress about e-learning and the transition during this time. We collaborated with the high school principal, school resource officer, substance abuse coordinator and current high school students
Tools for Engaging Youth
Many coalitions are moving their meetings and trainings online. Coalitions are using many different tools and online platforms. Below are some of the tools we’ve heard the field is using. Please note that CADCA does not endorse any of these platforms.
- Alexa Lee (Florida) says the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition uses SlickText to reach their youth and Remind to communicate with their Youth Leadership. They also use a number of social media channels including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
- Mona Hijazi (Dearborn, MI) says the ASAP Community Coalition use WhatsApp group texts to stay engaged with their youth.
- Dr. Grenae Dudley (Detroit, MI) shared that the Love Detroit Prevention Coalition youth have been doing virtual weekly meetings through Zoom.
Youth General Activities
Quizzes and Games
- CADCA’s Coalition Development team says that many of the coalitions they connect with are engaging youth remotely by holding virtual trivia games using applications such as Kahoot!
- Alexa Lee (Florida) shared that Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition teens have been writing cards to the healthcare heroes, as well as writing poems to other students for Instagram posts.
- The Anti-Drug Coalition of Citrus County (Florida) shared in the CADCA Community that they are doing a virtual version of a High School Anti-Drug Impact Games competition, which they started last year.