INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– At-risk youth are even more at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some children are facing harsh realities and challenges at home.
A community center on the north side is doing what they can to eliminate the chaos in those young people’s lives through counseling.
Lee Ivey asked, “Working around the clock, what does that really mean in a time like this?
For Ivey, it means being ready to answer your phone when a child needs help.
“In this moment, in our time, perhaps they need it more than they did before, finding ways to connect through this tele-health peace is ultra-important,” Ivey added.
Normally, you’d find him at the Martin Luther King Community Center. Now, he’s helping youth calm down virtually. It’s the new normal as life problems don’t go away during a pandemic.
“Here’s the reality. If the parents of a child were already rocky and perhaps talking about divorce and maybe they weren’t verbalizing, but a child felt that disconnection happening. Well, this coronavirus is surely disrupted what was already, what could already be perceived as chaotic,” said Ivey.
He’s worried kids could be feeling the pressure of being at home or in a harmful environment. Ivey’s job is to communicate to kids there are non-toxic outlets.
“Our breath is essential to our entire being. It fuels our anxiety, absolutely, but it can also fuel our hope. I’m just encouraging everyone to engage in breathing techniques,” explained Ivey. “I would like to encourage people to give themselves permission to be different. Give them permission to do life different. To give them permission to not have the answer.”
Allison Luthe is the Executive Director of the MLK Community Center. Normally, the building would be full for Spring Break camp with 50 youth and 20 teenagers this week.
“Instead, we are calling them, delivering educational materials and taking meals home to them every day,” said Luthe.
The food pantry delivers to nearly 80 homes a day. During this crisis, Luthe says reaching out to the families is just as critical.
“Parents, we have talk to them as well to give them support and let them know that Mr. Ivey is available and just encouraging them so we can hopefully see them as soon as possible,” Luthe added.
Ivey’s message is all about peace.
“And the meaning absolutely holds true, today,” said Ivey.
Click here to access resources provided by the MLK Community Center and how to get involved.