How ‘Bear Care Coaches’ have helped BU students through the COVID-19 crisis
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Baylor administrators quickly realized that many students would need extra support to get through the semester. One solution: the “Bear Care” program, designed to connect students with BU faculty and staff to help Bears navigate the unique stresses caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
More than 300 faculty and staff members quickly volunteered to serve as “Bear Care Coaches;” for the past month, they have been regularly reaching out to students to provide support and encouragement — finding (and helping) students through situations like this:
“I have a student, living in New Jersey, who is the oldest of 10 siblings,” says one Bear Care Coach. “His parents have lost their jobs, food is scarce, and survival is the first thing on his mind. Academics comes last, which is totally understandable. We worked fast and furiously to get him back on track academically. I helped him find tutors, assigned him an academic mentor, connected him to online counseling sessions, etc., assuring him that this is just a small speck on his academic experience and career and that this, too, shall pass.”
Here’s what students have said about the program:
“I’m so grateful that Baylor put the Bear Care Coaching program into place! I admit that, at first, I was unsure how I would benefit from this new program, but my coach has been a tremendous resource for me. Not only has he been committed to making sure I finish the semester strong, he was also instrumental in helping me reorganize my summer course schedule. Like so many things at Baylor, I’m thankful for the effort that went into making this program possible so that students can receive the attention they need at an individual level.” — junior Kristy Pritzl, Lorena, TX
“The Bear Care Coach Program was a great implementation for students going through this transition of online classes. I didn’t always need the help, but knowing that someone was there to talk to and be of service did lift a lot of extra weight off my shoulders through these hard times. My coach would always reach out and be happy to help anytime!” — freshman Daniel Espey, San Antonio
“I have really enjoyed the Bear Care Coach program because it is a perfect example of how Baylor goes above and beyond to ensure that their students know that they are cared for and given the resources they need to succeed. She has been very helpful in answering my questions and encouraging me to push through the semester. Her personal attention and high spirits have been very uplifting for me in these last few weeks. Honestly, I hope to still keep in contact even after the semester is over.” — sophomore Samantha Bernardy, Houston
“My Bear Care Coach has been very sweet and extremely supportive in these unprecedented times. At least once a week, she reaches out to me to ask how I am doing and to remind me that this is still real life. She always reaffirms my belief that there is always someone there to help me if I am struggling with academics or just life in general. She has provided me with study tips for online classes and has even referred me to others with additional resources. I am extremely grateful for the Bear Care Coach program!” — sophomore Danny Graeff, Escondido, CA
“The Bear Care program has helped me in so many ways. When I first got the email, I was a little surprised, but over time I came to realize that Baylor really is trying their best to care for the students during this situation. My coach has helped assist me through a few situations, and I’m thankful for that!” — junior Kourtney Sleet, Frisco, TX
Sic ’em, Bears (and Bear Care Coaches)!
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* How Baylor Student Life has adapted to keep serving students during COVID-19 (April 2020)
* President Livingstone using Facebook Live to keep the #BaylorFamily connected (April 2020)
* Millions of meals: How Baylor is helping feed schoolchildren in need during COVID-19 (April 2020)
* How Baylor helped students get their dorm essentials ASAP — for free (March 2020)