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April 24, 2020 | Tom Ballard

BeforeWeBegin develops guide for parents and teachers to help with COVID-19 impacts

When we posted this article in mid-January about BeforeWeBegin, a new Chattanooga start-up, our lead read as follows: “Any person who has lived very long has experienced one or more of the proverbial ‘kicks in the teeth’ that could negatively impact a life forever. How the individual responds is a testament to their make-up and their resilience but, better yet, what if there was a way to mitigate these negative experiences overall?”

Little did we know at the time what the nation and world were about to experience a short three months later as the coronavirus brought so much death, sadness, financial challenges if not ruin, and an unsettled life to so many.

Today, so many people have been impacted in one or more ways by COVID-19, and many are no doubt looking for resources to help them cope with what has happened and how to survive. It goes without saying that the two Co-Founders of BeforeWeBegin – Kenzie Butera and Lilly Mittenthal – know what it is like to be impacted by such adversity as they willingly shared in the January article.

As they prepare to go live in June with their inaugural product, the two individuals are focused on sharing valuable information now with their target audience – parents and teachers. In that vein, Butera forwarded us an email the two had crafted along with the “Hidden Issues” guide they had created.

“While stay-at-home mandates insulate us from outside conditions, we mustn’t forget that they also prevent the outside from seeing the conditions within the home,” they wrote. “As we make efforts to protect ourselves and to protect our loved ones, we simultaneously increase our exposure to lesser-seen dangers that are intensified by added time behind closed doors: domestic violence, depression, suicide and food insecurity. BeforeWeBegin aims to serve those impacted by the ‘hidden issues’ of COVID-19: those not covered by the media or discussed among neighbors in passing. The thing about hidden issues: you NEVER know who is dealing with them. Support your neighbors and your community by sharing this guide forward.”

Butera and Mittenthal acknowledge that they could not “possibly list all of the organizations and community efforts dedicated to addressing these concerns – there are countless counselors, food bank employees, lawyers, non-profit leaders and volunteers dedicating their talents to help meet the increased demand for resources spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak. This guide is not exhaustive by intention so as not to overwhelm those who need it, but to direct them to the leading organizations working tirelessly to provide on-the-ground support.”

The “Hidden Issues” guide includes a listing of resources in every state.

Meanwhile, look for their first offering – a mobile application for parents that will give them a medium for approaching tough conversations with their kids while also helping provide a roadmap for their child’s development

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