TEMPE, AZ — More funding is heading to help students and their families in the East Valley, even if they are not in the classroom right now.
The Tempe City Council voted last week to extend support to seven high school and middle schools in the Tempe Union High School District with the CARE 7 team to help with their physical and emotional health during the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was just swift. It was immediate - the impact on the students... the impact on the teachers," described Kristen Scharlau. "I mean, one day the schools just closed down."
For some kids and teens, closing the classroom doors shuts them off from any sense of security.
"Here we are with students who... home is not their safe place, Scharlau said. "School is their safe place and now they can't go there."
Scharlau is a Human Services Manager in the city and oversees the CARE 7 program.
CARE 7 offers a variety of mental health care and community resources. They also work inside schools in partnership with the Tempe Union High School District.
"One of the most innovative things that we do here is this hybrid program with the schools," Scharlau said. "It really allows the schools to be schools and us to be that resource in the community."
Youth Specialists are assigned to work at high schools and middle schools in the city and talk with students about how they are feeling, along with what is going on at home.
"If your family is suffering because they have housing insecurity, let us hook you up with some rental assistance or food or whatever the case may be," Scharlau said.
They are also trying to look for signs of Adverse Childhood Experiences and let teachers know how to spot them too.
"Doing a lot of education to faculty and administration about those 'problem kids' who those 'bad behaviors'... really changing their perception of why kids act that way," Scharlau said.
The amended and extended contract allows for us over $60,000 to be used to keep CARE 7 operating until June 30, 2020
"The school district and the city really jumped in and said, 'Let's not leave these kids hanging," Scharlau said.
In council documents, the funds are made possible by the Tempe Union High School District and are matched by the city. 75% - 100% of this money could be eligible for FEMA and Arizona State Department of Health reimbursement.
The documents state, "the services will be focused on providing support and improving the social-emotional wellness and resiliency of students during the pandemic."
Those services are done virtually, through phone and video calls. Scharlau said, they will also come to the home, if needed, to drop-off supplies.
"Let's make sure that during the summer they have access to those social-emotional supports," Scharlau said. "Not to mention the other things that we implemented, which were home-delivery of food, hygiene, toilet paper."
There is a CARE 7 Youth Specialist assigned to specific high schools and middle schools within the district.
Here is their email address to connect with them for help:
Desert Vista: Rang Ly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Compadre: Sylvia Lopez at Sylvia_lopez@tempe.gov
Corona Del Sol: Eskesha Clark at Eskesha_clark@tempe.gov
Marcos De Niza: Tristyn Rivas at Tristyn_rivas@tempe.gov
McClintock: Elizabeth Cling at Elizabeth_cling@tempe.gov
Mountain Pointe: Lorena Valle at Lorena_valle@tempe.gov
Tempe High: Mike Wilson at email@example.com
Kyrene Middle School: Jared Sidman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Connolly Middle School: Michelle Perin-Callahan at email@example.com
To learn more about CARE 7, click here: https://www.tempe.gov/government/human-services/care-7