By Leeann Napoleon, Development and Program Manager
As a convener, ACT strives to work closely with the nonprofit community and city agencies to support initiatives that improve the lives of Alexandrians. Alexandria nonprofits have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community are cared for and have access to equitable healthcare and vaccine services. Even still, there are many high risk and underserved populations that have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine. To gain a deeper understanding of why many have not been vaccinated, the Alexandria Health Department designated more than $145,000 in funding to support vaccine initiatives that focus on COVID-19 vaccine outreach and awareness building activities across the city of Alexandria from November through March 2022. In collaboration with ACT, the Sleeves Up, ALX: COVID-19 Vaccine Partnership Program provides eligible nonprofits with necessary funding to carry out this important work.
Based on the experiences of those closest to the most vulnerable populations in Alexandria, it is understood that supporting community partners who can rely on their existing relationships and expertise to incorporate vaccine outreach and education into their on-going work is the best next step forward. It is important for communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 to understand the benefits and safety of COVID-19 vaccines and have the tools to receive the vaccine to make an informed decision. Here are some ways two nonprofit partners selected to receive funding are supporting these efforts:
Edu-Futuro – https://edu-futuro.org/
Since 1998, Edu-Futuro is committed to serving immigrant and Latino families with a two-generation service model that allows their organization to reach parents and children in the same household with an even greater impact. With 23 years of experience working with Alexandrians and the surrounding Northern Virginia communities, the organization has built a strong network of community support and deep trusted relationships with the families they serve and advocate for. Since 2019, Edu-Futuro has also served as the home of Línea Directa, one of the nation’s longest-running weekly Spanish-language television programs dedicated to public service.
Edu-Futuro’s Sleeves Up, ALX initiative focuses on public awareness and comprehensive community outreach campaign through their Case Management Services, social media, and Línea Directa programming to cover difficult topics like disinformation that is present in Spanish-language social media. Additionally, immigrant families face exceptional barriers related to service navigation and accessing care. Edu-Futuro is well informed of these unique barriers and is able to address these gaps with appropriate solutions based on the needs of the families they serve.
ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) – https://www.ecnv.org/
ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia is a community resource and advocacy center run by and for persons with disabilities. ECNV is committed to empowering people with disabilities to live independently and improve their access to all aspects of society for a better quality of life. Founded in 1982, ECNV is one of 17 Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in Virginia. The organization provides a comprehensive support system for people living with disabilities, including advocacy and mentoring, and special programs that offer support group services and personal assistant services.
ECNV’s Sleeves Up, ALX initiative focuses on Alexandrians with disabilities and their caregivers from diverse multicultural backgrounds. With their network of trusted cultural navigators and deep-rooted relationships, ECNV’s initiative dispels myths often associated with the COVID-19 vaccine and disseminates trusted information on the importance and safety of the vaccine. People with disabilities face additional barriers to accessing the vaccine such as being unable to leave their homes, anxiety about their disability, and sometimes a mistrust of community programs. Recognizing these unique barriers, ECNV is taking a personal approach to collaborate with ambassadors who can host mini pop-up home-based vaccinations for people in their family, caregiving, and circle of support.
ACT is grateful for the collaborative spirit and critical partnerships fostered through this work with the Alexandria Health Department and Alexandria’s nonprofit community. ACT will continue to build on the lessons learned from this program and continue our commitment to supporting our neighbors in need and building a more equitable Alexandria for everyone. To learn more about Sleeves Up, ALX, visit https://www.actforalexandria.org/initiatives/t/sleevesupalx/.
This project is supported by the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as part of a financial assistance award totaling $77,125,694 with 100 percent funded by the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The contents are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC or the U.S. Government.