AURORA, Ind. (November 1, 2021) — Because of COVID-19 restrictions in place since early last year, youth at the YES Home in Aurora, Indiana, have had fewer family visits and have reported feelings of isolation and depressed moods, according to staff.
Youth Encouragement Services, a United Way of Greater Cincinnati partner agency, operates the residential program, which provides safe housing and comprehensive services to boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 20 who are under the supervision of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Coronavirus safeguards restrict visitors’ access to campus and complicate the process of YES Home residents taking off-site visits. Such isolation has impacted the home’s youth, exacerbating the mental health issues of some youth who were struggling even before the pandemic. What’s more, such struggles “affect (staff) because they affect the kids so much,” said Bree Nero, a resident technician at the home.
Against that backdrop, YES Home received a grant from United Way of Greater Cincinnati – Southeast Indiana that made it possible for youth and staff to attend workshops in Southeast Indiana devoted to self-care and resiliency. The funding was made possible by a COVID-19 Economic Initiative Grant from Lilly Inc. and a partnership with Indiana United Ways, a state professional association.
The workshops, held in late September, were led by Skye Berger of Door Opener Academy, an organization that works with youth and youth-care workers. One session was for youth and parents and was open to the community. “I think the (YES Home) kids liked it,” Nero said. “A lot of them now use the coping skills that were taught.”
In the session attended by YES Home staff, Nero said they received valuable tips, such as how to recognize and respond to stressors, how to balance self-care and work, and the importance of understanding that self-care is necessary, not self-indulgent.