Friends of Island Academy goes virtual, continues to help formerly incarcerated youth
A program that aids formerly incarcerated young adults throughout the city is continuing to help at-risk youth stay on the right track during the coronavirus pandemic.
For more than 30 years, Friends of Island Academy has been helping formerly incarcerated young adults through mentorship, job training and other resource services.
Due to the pandemic, counseling and services are now being done virtually so that the organization can continue its mission to help young people recently released from the city's jail system.
Jermaine Ferguson is a senior youth counselor. He says a lot of people are struggling with money and loss of family members during the pandemic.
Ferguson conducts about half a dozen virtual meetings each day with at-risk youth to help them stay out of trouble.
“Going to help them with different resources if they need shelter, maybe food trying to get jobs just trying to help them get out of trouble and make sure that they know that they still have a support system,” said Ferguson.
They are also helping through food deliveries in low-income communities. Many of the neighborhoods where clients live are some of the hardest-hit areas by COVID-19.
Ferguson says it's important to stay connected.