The world of ever changing COVID-19 has challenged all of us throughout this past year. The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties wanted to look back at how life has changed for the people we support and serve, and how our community stepped up to the challenge.
Advocacy went online
Although we were still unable to meet in-person for IEPs, service plans or just brainstorm due to COVID-19, your advocates connected with you online, by phone, email and by text. Students, families, support staff and advocates used new communication strategies, and everyone got used to seeing each other’s cats. Families and individuals, worked with advocates on plans to return to in-person, be it at work, day program or school.
Testing became a priority
To ensure the safety of those we support we encouraged people to get regular COVID-19 tests. As an organization we were able to get at home testing kits for our entire team that are extremely helpful as things have started to open back up. We worked hard to keep information up to date and flowing about testing sites in our area, changes in locations and frequency of testing to better support our community.
COVID-19 has changed our lives. From virtual classes to the need to social distance in person we all had to make changes to prevent the spread of this virus. This required that our educational and fun events had to drastically change. Our fun ADventures groups went from in-person to virtual events like weekly pop trivia, bingo, virtual cooking groups and had an online magician perform mystifying acts. Our celebrated summer events became drive thru member appreciation car washes, mail to you pre-packaged crafts and Move-A-Thon. Our educational classes like Building Blocks or Step Up! became recordings you can watch on your own time with virtual question and answer sessions. While we spent time virtually going over the facts round the Developmental Disabilities waiver with “Just the Facts: DD Waiver enrollments discussion panel”. As masks became the norm, and we were able to safely be around each other more often we got creative and held outdoor movie nights, build your own woodfired pizzas and small group escape rooms for Halloween.
We offered online support groups so people could gather virtually to brainstorm, problem-solve and share wisdom, advice, and resources. We were able to host discussions on how to manage stress, practice self-care or plant a victory garden. We banded together with you all to ensure that we all were doing the best we could, during the lonely times, knowing we were making a difference by staying home, no matter how hard it was.
Your Board of Directors did their part
Your Volunteer Board are some of the best and brightest in the world, and we’re not surprised that they’ve offered their talents in the fight against COVID-19. Whether it was helping at one of our smaller events, playing trivia weekly, assisting with our vaccine clinics, sharing our events, or staying strong for our community and team members, your board showed that they’re vital members of our community.
Once the COVID-19 vaccines were approved, we were leaders in hosting a state-run vaccination clinic in our building. Getting over 350 people with IDD (or their family members) vaccinated in the early months of 2021 gave us a glimmer of hope in this fight against COVID-19. Our continued clinics offering 1st, 2nd and booster shots throughout mid-fall helped push us ever forward towards a “new normal” life. Our last, but just as important clinics for kids (five and up) started before the holidays, allowing families a chance this year to have a more normal holiday season.
You all stepped up to the challenge
Adapting to a new way of life and a new method of taking classes, seeing friends and family, wearing masks, and washing your hands didn’t stop you living your best life. From staying home, going virtual, getting tested and getting vaccinated your newfound skills have helped not only The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties but the greater community. You all continued to show up on the computer screen to make our many virtual events the amazing time they were and are.
As the pandemic closes in on its second year, we know it won’t last forever. Like many of you, this second year brought our chapter opportunities to pivot and adapt in ways we never thought possible. Given the information we have today, we know we might not be able to be back together as soon as we would like. Please know that our team is planning some incredible events for next year. We know when this is over, we’ll be together again, and it will be a rocking great time!
The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties