IMPACT award

HONOR — Brianne Boles, CEO of Bona Vista, center, receives the Chamber IMPACT Award last week.

Each year the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce hosts an awards banquet in November to recognize members who have most affected the community. This year, Bona Vista was named the IMPACT award winner during the virtual ceremony last Thursday.

This specific award nomination is designated for non-profit agencies that have had noticeable impact on the community and through their mission. We are so grateful for the recognition from the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce for this opportunity to shine during a tumultuous year of uncertainty.

During the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Bona Vista’s focus was on trying to keep the community’s unemployment rate from rising by keeping caregivers employed with a steady paycheck, off entitlements and out of food banks. We also focused on the hundreds of disabled individuals in residential services each day that would ensure that the individuals would not be food insecure, go without, and continue to be afforded the basic needs to live comfortably.

Bona Vista was deemed an essential service through this pandemic. Staff were able to continue working, and adapted to protocols to keep themselves and the persons served in the programs safe. We are proud of the dedication that our employees have shown to our mission and to the people that we serve. Services at Bona Vista can never stop, even when the rest of the world did.

The individuals in the programs did not go without services for one minute. All residential individuals were cared for by staff. They were quarantined in Bona Vista’s residential homes, and staff continued to provide activities that would have been provided at Bona Vista buildings – in their homes. They continued to work on individual goals. They became creative with entertainment and hobby interests. The staff made the most of an unwelcomed and unprecedented abrupt change. Caring for those in this program is essential.

Children in our care also maintained services. Therapists that provided in-person services switched to technology to provide teletherapy for physical, occupational, speech and developmental therapies. Special education classes turned virtual and protocols heightened so preschoolers could come back to services, allowing their parents could go to their jobs and schools. Our operation adapted quickly, without warning, to accommodate the needs of our early childhood families while sustaining necessary safety procedures.

Bona Vista had many challenges to face. Day programs shifted to the residential settings. Community programs stopped when the Stay At Home Order began. Fundraising special events were canceled. With all of that, those in Bona Vista Programs that needed services never stopped.

The hardworking staff at Bona Vista changed the service delivery options on a dime when necessary to make sure those with disabilities receive high quality and efficient care. Thank you to the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce for this recognition. This agency could not thrive through this time without the dedicated staff, faithful donors and community support. We are forever grateful.