Philly Counts, the City’s effort to support the next United States Census, has launched the COVID-19 Community Response Captain Program. This program follows a similar structure to the Census Champion program that launched in September 2019. Through this organizing strategy, Philly Counts has successfully trained more than 8,000 people who were able to return to their communities as a trusted source of information and support.
The Census Champion Training program and the COVID-19 Community Response Captain program are both based on the principle of everyday people helping each other. During times of shared crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, trusted messengers are an essential community resource. They share information, break down language barriers, and lend a helping hand when needed.
“Everyday leaders have tremendous trust and influence within their communities and are amazing allies to share the public health guidance and resources from the City—especially for individuals who speak languages other than English,” said Amy Eusebio, Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs. “They can also help the City stay informed on the issues impacting their communities so that we can explore creative solutions in the COVID-19 recovery process.”
The relationships that Philly Counts has established with its community partners through census action is an infrastructure that can be used for any issue that affects the city. Now, these relationships will ensure that communities are well informed about the spread of COVID-19 in Philadelphia, how they can stay safe, and what resources are available. The program aims to reduce the pressure on community leaders and organizations by making information accessible in one location and ensuring Philadelphians have access to the resources and services they critically need during this moment of crisis.
“We’ve proven through our Census Champion Training Program that the most effective way to communicate with the public is to engage them through people they know and trust,” said Stephanie Reid, Executive Director of Philly Counts. “We’re working with community leaders and those who are trusted messengers in their communities to provide them with all of the information and resources they need to keep themselves, their families, and their neighbors safe during these challenging times. People are looking to each other for the answers. We want to reduce fear and misinformation by making the answers to the most pressing questions available as one comprehensive resource.”
The daily virtual Community Response Captain Program trainings will include updated COVID-19 information, a comprehensive resource guide, and steps for community action in English, Spanish, French and Chinese. Upon completing the training, COVID-19 Community Response Captains will be able to relay the most accurate and updated information to their peers, and provide support when needed.
What is the role of a COVID-19 Community Response Captain?
- Share updated information about the COVID-19 pandemic
- Check-in on your neighbors
- Encourage your peers to follow CDC guidelines
- Provide informational support and help peers find services
- Provide support to non-English speakers
Members of the public can choose the session that works best for them based on time and language using the list of events available here.