Due to water damage, our building is closed for repairs. We are continuing all our operations remotely and from a temporary office space until further notice.

Youth Team Gets Creative Amidst COVID-19 Challenges


March 31, 2020 | by Ashley Eisenmenger

“Youth still have a future that they want and need to prepare for. We can’t just stop giving them the information that they need to make future choices.”

– Katherine Blank, Youth Institute Manager

It is business as usual for Access Living’s Youth Team amidst the COVID-19 pandemic — with a little help from the video conferencing platform, Zoom. Despite their inability to meet in person for programing and planning, the team has adapted to the new remote lifestyle well. This week, they continued all of their programing virtually and the team is still actively recruiting youth to join the programs Access Living offers.

“I’m really fortunate that my team was so willing to learn new technology and try new approaches to getting our curriculum modified for virtual work.” Katie Blank said.

Access Living currently offers four different youth programs including Fast Track, Reaching Our Dreams, Y.I.E.L.D, and Disability Justice Mentoring Collective (DJMC).

In this unique time of virtual learning and remote working, the youth team is working hard to make sure that those they serve are still able to benefit from their core offerings. Staff have not only spent time learning and adapting to new technology, but also reaching out to the youth and their families to make sure that they have as much access as possible to the programming as it shifts to virtual.

“It has been really great to see how engaged the youth are via video chat and phone calls. They’re just so excited to be connecting,” Katie said.

“In these times of uncertainty, it is essential for there to be some consistency for youth. We’re lucky that our programs don’t have to stop.” Katie said. “Everybody needs connection right now, and I’m glad that we get to ensure that happens for the youth we work with.”

DJMC is currently looking for youth from the Austin area who are interested in working with a mentor.  Parents interested in getting their kids involved with the Fast Track program should reach out to Katie Blank.


Katie Blank

Senior Manager – Youth Institute


(312) 640-2103