Collaboration in Perth Amboy During COVID-19

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Healthier Perth Amboy

Due to sad and sobering current events, every organization in the Healthier Perth Amboy  (HPA) coalition has had to close its doors to the public, including the City of Perth Amboy. It was not easy for any of us to close, and tears were shed as we understood many employees had to be furloughed, and residents might feel abandoned in these uncertain times. We are trying our best to make sure we are still here for our community, even if in different ways than before this public health crisis. After taking a few weeks to adapt our operations in response to COVID-19, we met with our HPA partners to see how we can help each other during these times, and to especially assist our most vulnerable community members.

Healthier Perth Amboy knows this pandemic will greatly affect our children in multiple ways. Perth Amboy students are currently being homeschooled and are falling behind due to a lack of structure and lack of knowledge in using online learning platforms. Two HPA partners, the Raritan Bay Area YMCA and Jewish Renaissance Foundation, are working on syncing their virtual tutoring services as if they are coming from one entity. This will help make sure students get the services they need without information overload. They are also working on a bilingual tutorial of Google Classroom that all HPA partners can share with parents and students, because a huge issue our community faces is a lack of technical support.

We also know this experience will take a huge toll on the mental health of our community, especially the youth and our healthcare workers. We are expecting an influx in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to current conditions in our local hospital, Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center. Our coalition is currently compiling a list of mental health and behavioral health services provided by all HPA partners to make available to the public for when they may need it. We know the aftermath of COVID-19 may be as disruptive as the current situation, so we must work together to ensure we are ready to help our community.

To learn more, please connect with Healthier Perth Amboy on Facebook and Instagram, and contact project director Steve Jobin.

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Rebecca Pauley
Raritan Bay Area YMCA