TADA in the future: long-distance running
The metaphor has already been widely used: the corona crisis is a marathon, not a sprint. In order to get through such a crisis, as an organisation, you better mirror yourself to that metaphor. This is not an easy thing to do, because educational inequality is growing even bigger nowadays. And then our heart says: sprint! Catch up!
We admit, we started at a high speed as well. Priority: to keep contact with all our TADA teens. That way, we can continue to challenge and motivate them. Every week, our pedagogical coordinators contact the kids of their class by phone, social media, chat apps, you name it. Their work schedule has been adapted: they are temporarily unemployed part-time because of lost hours compared to the normal rhythm.
Next to that, we developed ilovetada.be at a rapid pace for all kids and youngsters, next to our existing alumni website. Both sites have been visited more than 6.000 times since the lockdown.
Not going in all directions at once
TADA focused on personal interactions with kids. What didn’t we actively do? Gather and distribute laptops. Because a computer doesn’t automatically diminish learning gaps. At best, it is one piece of the puzzle and only when you do it right.
If you look at laptops as the solution by themselves, you assume that kids and parents will figure out outdated hardware and sometimes complex learning software. That 10-year olds will be intrinsically motivated to learn via their laptop. That there is enough space and rest at home to concentrate. And so on…
We did bring initiatives with a well thought-out laptop approach into contact with a few primary schools in Brussels. And we try to efficiently integrate this piece of the puzzle ourselves into the youth work: after three years of weekend school every alumnus receives a modern, user-friendly Chromebook, accompanied by the necessary training. Already 436 alumni have received such a laptop and we are currently configuring the devices of 151 new alumni. They will get their Chromebook soon, along with a mouth mask.
Define the pace
After the quick start we took, it is now a matter of distributing our energy evenly during every part of the corona marathon. That way, we assure TADA’s long-term impact.
The past years we have worked hard to build a buffer through fundraising. If necessary, we can use that financial reserve in the coming months. At the same time, it remains crucial to raise enough money and to use the available resources as efficiently as possible. That is why we continue to develop a plan to reach even more young people through indirect impact.
The weekend school is temporarily in saving mode: this school year, we probably will no longer be able to organize a normal TADA Saturday. Next school year, we will slow down the planned growth: new classes will start a bit later and spread out in time. This way, we postpone meetings between several generations, we can better prepare ourselves organisationally for ‘TADA after corona’, and we distribute our energy evenly – in order to not run faster, but to run further.
Would you like to help us with that? Sign up as a volunteer – for the time being from a distance or next school year in real life! 😉