A few months ago, when we selected the theme for our annual fundraising luncheon, we landed on Finding Power in Connection. Little did we know how relevant these words would be now, as we learn how to connect in entirely new ways during the shelter-in-place orders. When we originally came up with the theme, it was about the idea that in an increasingly disconnected world there is power in connection. An essential part of Health Connected's work is to build that connection and encourage face to face interaction and dialogue— student with educator, student with parent, and student with student. In our current state of sheltering in place, Finding Power in Connection takes on new and greater meanings— the value of staying connected, the power of in-person connection, and, of course, learning how to connect in new ways.
There is no doubt that our entire society is in the midst of a crisis of a generation, perhaps multiple generations. Nonprofit organizations have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic and are simply trying to survive. Many are bearing a considerable amount of the burden of this crisis as demand for their services has skyrocketed as support from stretched donors decreases. These critical services need our support right now— basic safety net services such as food, emergency housing, financial assistance, health care services— and I want to strongly encourage all of us to give what we can. There is considerable uncertainty in how long the COVID-19 crisis will last and, once the immediate shelter-in-place orders and school closures are over, how long it will take all of us to recover.
Once our feelings of safety and security are restored, we need to remember that love and a sense of belonging are also basic needs. Humans are born wired for connection. In fact, now more than ever we need to support young people to maintain and continue to grow those connections whether at home or through technology. We need to continue providing young people with the skills to communicate with empathy and respect, particularly given that the ways in which we communicate are ever-evolving. Regardless of whether or not young people are learning at school or distance learning at home, they still have a right to the information and skills needed to make thoughtful choices about their relationships and sexual health at this moment in time and beyond. That is why, over the last three weeks, our team has worked tirelessly to adapt all of our in-person classroom experiences to virtual classroom experiences.
At some point this crisis will be over. If there is one thing we have learned (besides how to wash our hands correctly), it is how important our connections with others are. It is what makes us fundamentally human. Those connections are vital for our survival. Health Connected plays an important role in strengthening these connections for our next generation. Sexual health education is not just about body parts. It is a critical opportunity to impart messages about respect, empathy, self-awareness, safety, resources, and, yes, our connection with others.
We need your support to continue our work, not just through the immediate global crisis, but well beyond. Please consider supporting us today with a multiple-year pledgeas a demonstration of your commitment to ensure that young people can strengthen their connections now and well into the future.