Tenacity’s Response to COVID-19

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“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”

– Coretta Scott King

Dear Tenacity family,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis, an economic crisis, and it also needs to be understood as an education crisis – particularly an urban education crisis. Students come from very different backgrounds and have very different resources, opportunities, and support outside of school.

This virus has stolen Boston students’ in-school experience for the rest of the school year. Now that their entire learning lives, as well as their actual physical lives, are outside of school, the vast inequality of opportunities that exist have come even more sharply into focus – highlighting how these students are victims in this crisis many times over.

For the most vulnerable students, the interruption in learning caused by the pandemic will not simply be a short-term issue, but may, without intervention, have long-term consequences that further amplify pervasive inequities and further widen the achievement gap.

With that in mind, Tenacity is acting urgently and nimbly to implement new ways to support and advance student social, emotional, academic, and fitness development.

Service to students and families has by no means stopped, it just looks different and is, if anything, even more vital and vibrant. We have implemented the concept of “Tenacity Care Professionals” in order to sustain and intensify one of the core hallmarks of Tenacity, namely student-by-student, parent-by-parent customized, direct service during this extraordinary time.

To view our full Student and Parent Centered Response service presentation, click on the TCP graphic above or on this link.

We recognize that going to school is not only about academics, but also about social relationships, dependable routines, and peer-to-peer interactions. It’s important to normalize emotions and schedules, and also give students creative outlets and ways to stay connected.

Amongst the many services staff and AmeriCorps Fellows are providing are weekly phone calls home, connecting with students to check in on how they and their families are doing, ensuring that they have access to food, healthcare, a computer and a working connection to the internet.

Staff are sending inspirational messages to their students and resources about how to provide self-care during the epidemic.

They have created virtual classrooms – providing online academic, tennis, and fitness lessons to nurture growth and skill development so students can engage more deeply with their overall learning and stay on track.

Below are two examples of short videos for students posted on Instagram.

Ms. Li presents Tongue Twister Tuesday where she presents a tongue twister and challenges students to recite it and create their own.

Coach Payne lays out The Sevens Challenge – four different strokes for which you try to get seven reps in a row each, then string all four strokes together.

The positive, consistent relationships offered by Tenacity staff and AmeriCorps Fellows provide a buffer against the effects of isolation, stress and trauma on students and promote resilience and positive outcomes.

As an organization, we are mitigating the disproportionate effects on urban youth who often already experience barriers – including those who depend on schools for meals and those whose families have lost income as a result of job cuts, precarious employment, or are otherwise in a difficult situation.

There is much talk of flattening the curve for the pandemic. We must also work together to flatten the curve of inequitable access to educational opportunities.

For children to flourish in school and in life, their holistic needs must be valued and addressed by caring adults in a nurturing community.

Doing so is even more important in a crisis – Tenacity is delivering every day to over 700 Boston Public School students. We are also preparing to help thousands of students in Boston and hundreds of students in Worcester continue learning, growing, playing, and having fun this summer through our Summer Tennis & Reading Program.

It is times like these that present the opportunity to reach and discover new insights regarding the underlying essence, meaning, and value of Tenacity; not to mention the chance to make a meaningful difference in our community.

We invite you continue helping us sustain and build this community of support!

With Respect & Appreciation,


Edward W. Eames
Founder & CEO

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