I have been on wonderful journey learning about the creative ways day programs have stayed in touch and served their clients while they are staying at home during this COVID-19 crisis. The stories I will share with you touched my heart to the very core as I hope they will touch yours.
What I found is that each program is doing their best to get the people they serve through this crisis. I found comfort in the words of leaders from various programs. Terri Williams, CEO of Mains’l inspired me with these words, “Our goal is not to weather the storm…but to get us safely to the other side.” Sabrina, Director of Premier Solutions said, “We are going to take care of each other and that is how we are going to get through this.” Don from WTC reminded me that we all need someone we can relate to and he said, “We are all in this together.”
Connection and understanding have been a common thread woven throughout. Technology, especially the phone, has become important tools of helping people talk with one another and to help each other make it through. People just really need to talk. They need to reach out and know that they are not alone. One unique thing that WTC is doing is using Spanish Speaking staff to help those they serve so that they can communicate their needs and be understood. ARC of Chico has been calling and checking up on their clients because a lot of them do not have computers. Expressive Learning Center has a Face book page that offers a daily scavenger hunt for people to find things in their homes and/or their daily walks. Quest has two telephone lines available for the people they serve, one has the joke of the day and the other is to reach out and talk to and support the people who are staying at home.
Each program I talked with had something unique and individual that they did to reach out and support to those they serve. Premier Solutions in Redding provides entertainment baskets that include games, sunflower seeds and other things their clients can do at home. Many programs have produced You Tube video classes for their clients. If you are interested in viewing some of these great classes, you can subscribe to Do-It Leisure/Work Training Center, IPS, and Mains’l 7th St. Centre for the Arts channels. Jackie from Do-It also has plans to offer virtual bingo.
In Redding, Artistic Endeavors has dedicated their time to design and sew masks not only for those they serve but for the greater community Far Northern Regional Center serves. They also make shopping cart handle covers in many different designs and colors. To order or learn more, you can go to their website: www.artistendeavors.com. In Chico, Work Training Center has put to work the sewing machines at Bear Mountain to also make masks for the people they serve as well as to have extras for those in need. They have a distribution center as well that provides masks and needed supplies.
There has been a special concern for those who live alone and many have had groceries and other important items delivered right to their door. Many ILS companies are also still in service and have been a great help in helping those they serve have food and other important things they need. Expanding Food Pantry services has been another way Far Northern hopes to help the people they serve. IPS in Redding and Mains’l in Chico delivers food right to your door for only $10 a month. There are plans to now expand food pantry services into all the counties Far Northern Regional Center services including Lassen and Plumas.
Day Programs throughout our region are working hard to support their clients. Whether it is picking up the phone and making a call, helping deliver to someone’s need or simply being there, they are doing their part to help each one of them make it safely to the other side. The ray of hope that I have seen throughout, is that our service community is becoming stronger than ever before. This is because the day programs are finding creative ways to be there for the people they serve.