The Open Field team is trying new things to reach youth!

We continue to send love and strength to you and your loved ones as we all experience the impact of COVID-19 across the globe. Our staff in Cameroon and Pittsburgh are working closely together in response to the impact of COVID-19, since our regular activities were suspended since mid-March. 

In April we launched two initiatives to enhance our connection with youth participants and encourage physical activity and personal growth, despite the distance between us. Here we’re sharing more about what we’ve done over the last few weeks. 

Awareness Campaign in Cameroon

After we suspended our programming for the safety of our staff, community leaders, youth participants, and the greater community, we took a few weeks to brainstorm the best response. In April, Open Field staff worked closely with our network of community leaders in 14 neighborhoods in 3 cities in the Southwest and Northwest Regions to educate youth and their families on the importance of physical distancing and proper handwashing to minimize exposure and transmission of coronavirus.

To achieve this goal, we distributed information packets that include:

  • Accurate, culturally appropriate information provided by the World Health Organization
  • Exercises created by our staff to support physical activities youth can do inside their home

We distributed more than 800 packets to youth participants and we expect they shared the information with their brothers and sisters, reaching thousands more!

Read more about our Cameroon Response

Above, Maurice moves around the Njuki neighborhood of Kumba where he leads activities to connect with youth. Below, Open Field leader and former program participant, Bidias, makes his way around Kumba sharing information with youth and their families. Phone calls and home visits strengthen the relationship with youth and their families. 

In Pittsburgh, we launched a Virtual Program!

Since we couldn’t begin our Spring programs in Pittsburgh as planned, we decided to adapt our programming and bring physical activities and a life skills challenge into the homes of youth. Lucas and Justin got together earlier to create a 4-part weekly series of videos to keep kids busy at home and stay connected during this challenging time. Read more about our Pittsburgh Response.

Each video includes two components listed below. Learn more about the Virtual Program.

  1. Physical Activity – warm-ups and exercises to get kids moving inside their home. Our coaches will describe the activities in the video. Kids are to repeat 3 times in a row. No equipment is necessary.
  2. Life Skills Challenge – Our coach-mentors will highlight a health or social topic for kids to reflect on during the week. Respond in one of three ways:
    1. draw a picture
    2. write a story (how does this apply in your life? How do you feel about it?)
    3. tell a story (video, maximum 3 minutes, can be storytelling or acting it out with siblings or other family members living in the home)