SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - In uncertain times for young people, out of school months earlier than scheduled due to COVID-19, finding ways to express their feelings surrounding the pandemic can be a challenge. On the front lines of helping Savannah’s youth find their voice and creative expression is Deep Center.
The halls, classrooms, and playgrounds of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools are empty for the remainder of the school year. Teachers are having to find ways to keep students engaged in a time with so many more stressors, and it’s no different for the staff at Deep Center.
“There’s just the reality that a lot of people are losing jobs. So, what might have felt a certainty for our families that would allow art, the ability and the space and time to produce it freely, has been a moment of major tension and stress for some of our families,” Deep Center Director of Youth Programs Keith Miller, Jr. said.
Since the effects of COVID-19 began altering normal life locally, Deep Center has been connecting students and their families with resources and trying to find ways to celebrate their accomplishments and major milestones even with without events like proms and graduations.
“Although there’s a lot of uncertainty around what COVID-19 will allow us to be able to do soon, the reality is that a lot of those hallmark, celebratory moments of these three, four years our young people have been working hard and doggedly to get to, a lot of them are feeling a sense of frustration and they’re sad, because that’s not something that they can get back,” Miller said.
Some of those feelings are evident in several poems Miller shared written by their students.
“By allowing them to put that to pen and paper, to the screen, is actually allowing them to release a lot of what may be swirling in their heads in a very chaotic fashion. And then it gives them what is called critical distance, to then be able to work through it and understand, OK, if nothing else this is where I am right now, and this is OK too,” he said.