March 11th, 2020 was the day that everything changed for Juma. Before any of the shelter-in-place orders were issued, before many were watching global pandemic breaking news around the clock — that was the day that stadium closures were announced. That was the day that mattered for Juma.
In the days that followed, we decided to hold a newsletter that was meant to go out that week — it was a regular update, and seemed a bit off given how the world was experiencing tectonic shifts. But looking back on it now, the first line that I wrote still rings so true:
When asked what their favorite part of Juma is, Juma youth will often answer “the people I work with”, referring to the Juma community as a family.
It is this family, this community, that has kept all of our youth and staff centered and grounded through this time. It is this community that has kept our spirits buoyed. It is this community that will support each other, no matter what the future holds.
You are part of this community, and I hope you’ve experienced this with our updates these past few weeks. Thank you for your support, thank you for your commitment, and I hope you and your families are in good health and spirits.
CEO, Juma Ventures
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been humbled and inspired by the rapid mobilization of our community to ensure that 500 Juma youth across the country have access to the essential resources they need to get through this crisis. The San Francisco Giants have awarded $500 grants to youth who worked at Oracle Park as part of their “Giants Emergency Assistance Fund” initiative. In Sacramento, Buckhorn Grill and Sacramento Kings player Bogdan Bogdanovic came together to provide hot meals for our young people. Across America, Juma supporters and partners have helped us to raise 70% of our funding goal in record time. Thanks to that generosity, Juma youth are accessing the resources they need to survive and continue learning.
This month we made enormous changes to our programming at an unprecedented pace, and, thanks to the decisive action of our staff and partners, we have brought our programming online. Juma youth can now learn and earn from a safe distance while stadiums remain closed. So far youth have completed 315 hours of programming and earned over $103,425. Perhaps most importantly, youth are staying connected to each other and their goals in this time of isolation. Learn more in this video from Alejandro, a Sacramento Juma Youth who is now earning and learning safely from his home.
Juma is thrilled to welcome Caroline Dechert, Susan Hopkinson, and Lori A. Rianda to our National Board of Directors. More information about Caroline, Susan, and Lori can be found here. Since joining the board just before the COVID-19 crisis hit, all three have played critical roles in supporting Juma, both advocating for corporate funding and participating on a committee finding new pathways to work to keep Juma’s young people moving forward while stadiums are closed. To all three we say thank you and welcome to the Juma family!