It seems that if there is a natural disaster that hits Kokomo, it also hits Bona Vista Programs. 100-year flood? Check. Tornado that leveled one of our buildings? Check. Tornado several years later that damaged several of our buildings? Check.
What has always impressed me, though, is how we handle crisis, bounce back, and learn from the process. We have improved policies and developed best practices all from the struggles we have endured. They have made us better each time. This virus will be no different. I am confident of that.
In an instant, the way we were able to conduct business and offer programming drastically changed. We weren’t able to meet in large groups (which we love doing). We weren’t able to allow volunteers, interns, visitors, or potential employees in our buildings (who we love having). We had to implement hand sanitizing and temperature checks before entering our buildings (because we love our staff). And those are only a few of the changes.
But, you know what happened because of some of these changes? We developed new ways to operate. When we had to have our adults stop meeting in large groups. Our staff created activity packets that they sent to 15 homes with enough stuff to do for eight weeks. Shout out to our friends at Bridgeway Church who donated thousands of dollars worth of items to make those packets possible! What a blessing! Wow.
Did we anticipate needing to shelter in place for eight weeks? Man, we sure hoped not. But, to reduce the number of people going in and out of some of our homes, they planned that far ahead! Way to go, team!
We also worked to get technology to people who didn’t previously have access so they could still continue to “see” their loved ones from a distance. We also have started making videos of magic shows, craft projects, etc. that we can share with our special friends so they can continue to see our faces, too!
And, speaking of technology, those we serve aren’t the only ones using it. Our therapists have started providing tele-therapy during this time so that their clients didn’t lose traction. Much like teachers, this is new for some of them. When they signed up to provide therapy, providing it from a distance was not how they anticipated doing it. But, they have adapted along with our teachers who are continuing to send out educational activities and projects to parents. It’s true! We are doing pre-school e-learning style. What a world we are living in, right?
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m so proud of the flexibility and creativity of our staff. They continue to step up because they care about the well-being and the hearts of those we serve – the young and the more seasoned, alike. Some of our staff can’t stay home. Those we serve depend on them not only for companionship to battle depression and isolation that comes with hunkering down but also for feedings, medications, and other life-giving, essential tasks. Real heroes work here, and we will always be grateful for the way they have cared through COVID-19.
We hope you are all staying safe and healthy, and we appreciate your continued support during this time. If you have questions about how you can help us, please reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to highlight how some of our community partners have stuck by us when this is all a distant memory.