Children and youth from BCFS Health and Human Services Transitional Foster Care took a hyperdrive through history on May 14, getting to hear “directly” from notable personalities such as Abraham Lincoln and Frida Kahlo.
Transitional Foster Care helps children 5 to 17 years old adjust to a new life with a new foster family. This process includes continuing education, offering tutoring for difficult schoolwork and visiting families in their home. By necessity, most of Transitional Foster Care’s work has recently turned to virtual solutions as part of larger efforts by the BCFS System to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Transitional Foster Care has responded to the changes in their workflow by seeing it not as a hindrance but rather an opportunity. Their history lesson via time travel is only the most recent of the program’s efforts to keep children engaged though learning has moved online.
For the children’s time travel class, Mariceliz Ortiz, Lead Educational Facilitator, would briefly introduce each of their renowned guests before starting the time machine that let the class jump to that point in history. Although the sound of traveling through time – something between a UFO and an old washing machine – was played before each of the 12 important figures came on screen, one of the boys on the call couldn’t help but laugh every time.
Following the lesson, the children were invited to ask questions of their physics-defying visitors or share their thoughts. One boy mentioned he learned new things about el rey del fútbol, Pelé. A young girl said she enjoyed hearing about the human activism of Rigoberta Menchu, who has advocated for the rights of indigenous people in Guatemala and internationally.
Classes like these, which combine the native creativity of Transitional Foster Care staff with resources available at home, illustrate that a new normal doesn’t have to be lesser than normal.