by EYEJ: Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice

We cannot change the future, if we are not plugged into the present.

We are so grateful for the support we have received for the #EMPOWER campaign. EYEJ: Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice has been able to facilitate programming in response to COVID-19 by creating two new programs (YODJ: Youth Online Discussing Justice and the All-Star Reading program), provide support to the EYEJ Youth Council in order to help develop change for our Cleveland youth and a greater chance of living successful and healthy lives.

This summer, the Youth Council has been working tirelessly on bridging the digital divide and focusing on connectivity issues in the City of Cleveland. We recognize that everyone is adjusting to a new educational environment, one that requires new ways of learning and engaging with one another online. However, according to CMSD Superintendent Eric Gordon, 40% of families in the City of Cleveland do not have access to broadband internet and ¾ don’t have access to devices. Because of this, many students fall behind in school, lose job opportunities, lack the resources needed to access mental health services, and become unable to attend crucial social engagements. All of these examples have happened directly to the youth we serve. Our Youth Council team members are taking upon themselves the initiative to implement policy, social policy, and awareness campaigns regarding connectivity in the City of Cleveland by pushing the demand of broadband internet access and e-learning devices for all Cleveland youth.

However, the digital divide issue is not the only overwhelming problem. We at EYEJ feel that it is imperative to support and empower our youth, specifically our Youth Council as they are tirelessly working on advocating and focusing on digital connectivity for the younger youth in this city, while also trying to maintain their households. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many members of the EYEJ Youth Council are struggling to have their basic needs met. EYEJ serves youth whose families struggle with opression, maintaining a stable income, food insecurity, reliable transportation, affording healthcare costs, and more.

In response, the diverse Millennials of the EYEJ team have come together to re-launch the #EMPOWER campaign, with a Day of Giving Fundraiser (July 24, 2020). The goal of this 24-hour virtual event will be to raise $20,000. Included in this day, there will be a “Connect with EYEJ Youth, Our Stories Matter” event starting at 12PM EST which will feature various members from the Youth Council team. Please RSVP to hello@eyej.org.

Please consider donating to help #EMPOWER our Cleveland youth to reach the $20,000 goal.

Please note that Congress is urging taxpayers to donate to nonprofits during this period. Due to the new CARES Act, it is possible for U.S. tax papers to make a single donation of $300 and have it be deductible for the 2020 tax year ($600 max for couples). Additionally, corporations can take a deduction of up to 25% of taxable income, and if taxpayers don't need their $1,200 stimulus check, Congress is recommending that people donate it. We would like to ask for your contribution, and you can designate your gift directly through this web site. We greatly appreciate you doing so.

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