Supportive partners help fund Think Together in the Inland Empire

Think Together is proud to partner with Inland SoCal United Way and Union Pacific Railroad and is grateful for these two organizations support in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Like many nonprofits, Think Together pivoted to address the challenges presented by COVID-19 by offering distance learning support, in-person program using strict health guidelines and other critical services such as meal and device distribution.

To help meet the moment, Inland SoCal United Way and Union Pacific Railroad stepped up to provide grants that support these initiatives for students in these regions. Collectively, these regions serve in 17 school districts and up to 29,240 students.

Due to local guidelines amid COVID-19, both regions are primarily conducting class using distance learning. Our San Bernardino region was one of our first regions to start our virtual summer learning programs back in May.

One of our San Bernardino site coordinators, Gabriela Lomeli shared what this experience has been like for her:

“At the start of working remotely at home, due to COVID-19 back in March, everything I thought I knew about my role in Think Together did a complete one-eighty. Within a matter of days, our entire working day was now at home, and all online. Up until that time, I didn’t know what Zoom and Google Meet was, nor how to really use it. Like my peers, I had to quickly adapt and get myself and my team ready for the beginning our new normal.

As the end of the school year came to an emotional close, the beginning of summer would at least allow us to feel optimistic and prepare for any possible outcome for the beginning of the new school year. We wanted to be ready for anything that came our way, and if we knew we still had to continue the start the year working from home, then at least we knew this was going to be our chance to finally be able see our students, even if the first day back at program was online.”

Through our front-line staff’s hard work, many students are thriving in the distance learning environment and are recouping their learning loss.

“Distance learning has been a challenge to some students. At Van Buren we have a 3rd grade student who had been struggling with distance learning. Her family stated that due to the language barrier it was difficult for them to support her with her assignments. Within the first week of her attending our Think Together learning hub her school day teacher said that she had noticed a substantial improvement. Not only did her attendance improve, she also accomplished her first completed assignment since distance learning. The student, program leader, site coordinator and teacher are all working together to support this student and help her accomplish a successful school year.” Maria Montes, Riverside Site Coordinator

All of our regions, including San Bernardino and Riverside, have given their 110% effort to make sure that students feel supported, successful and making sure they are still having fun. With support from our corporate and foundation partners like Inland SoCal United Way and Union Pacific Railroad, we are continuously able to adapt to fit the needs of our times and make sure that our students never slip.