What the center is doing to keep our community safe
In preparation for the flu season, regional reopening of schools and a concern to ensure safety and reduce exposure to primarily COVID-19 the attached plans are in place at The Center. These plans are based on CDC Recommendations and local Health Department guidance.
The primary objective is to avoid temporary closure and prepare for contingencies if a participant or staff get sick from COVID-19 or the flu. These guidelines have been adapted due to the nature of our services and are to be adhered to by active participants, their immediate family and all staff.
These protocols and precautions are in place as of Oct. 20, 2020 thru end of year.
Parents have been hit the hardest with shelter in place orders. Overnight becoming their children's teachers, therapists and coaches. Some still are working, but now from home. Juggling the stress of financial strain and the unknown of how long this may last?
Parents with special needs children have an added challenges. With schools and care facilities being closed, critical services and therapies that provide structure for their children are now gone. Behaviors spike, progress is stalled and or reverts for these individuals. The choreography of resources for families with special needs is disrupted and it's unclear if that support will be available for families moving forward. Parents are inevitably burnt out and there seems to be no end in sight.
When leadership is considering what falls under essential businesses, the work of parenting is often left out of the conversation. Especially the work of parenting children with special needs. Childcare services and special needs facilities are all navigating how they may reopen while maintaining safety and following all guidelines. Federal block grants have been slow moving to get in the hands of those who need them most and the short term aid isn't enough. The workforce that makes up childcare services and direct care support for special needs individuals are some of the hardest hit. The worry is that despite an increased demand for this workforce the capacity will be limited due to lack of resources.
What COVID19 is teaching all of us is how very essential this work is. How important it will be to re-think our social-educational infrastructure to be more inclusive and accommodating. There is no denying that childcare workers, care providers, teachers, therapists and coaches are essential. They all contribute to the next generation and it is our job to ensure that they are included in the conversations for plans moving forward.
At The Center we have been diligently preparing for what our "new normal" looks like by prioritizing the safety for our participants and staff. We have made it a priority to support our staff during our hiatus despite having a minimal roadway of resources to tap into. Our plans for reopening consider all of the critical guidelines and recommendations as well as take into account our unique workplace. Our updated reopening guidelines are below and if they are of service to you, your families or organizations in your community providing direct care support and trying to figure out how to reopen please feel free to share.
More importantly, rather than just thinking about the near term we are looking ahead - way ahead and have put plans in place for expansion of our facilities. We strive to be able to support more families in need. To be a resource for the growing population of young adults with special needs. In order to do this we have to grow and we have begun to plant the seeds!
To all of the parents my message is relief is coming, there is a light at the end of this shelter in place tunnel. It's going to be different, it will be better and in my opinion you all deserve hazard pay! Thank you to all of the essential work you have contributed to make it this far. Hang in there and be kind to yourself.
Stay safe, stay strong and stay sane!
Acting Executive Director
*This blog post was inspired by a Washington Post Article, link below.
Join our team
As we reopen our doors in June 2020 we are looking to recruit additional team members who can help us grow!
Do you care about those with special needs?
Have an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy working with a team?
Interested in helping build something and work towards big goals?
If you answered yes to the above we want to meet you! Take a look at our current open positions and apply. We are recruiting for our Life Coach-Instructor and Clinical Director positions, you can review the job descriptions and apply online below.
watch how we plan to grow
The Center along with organizations across the globe participated in Giving Tuesday Now on May 5, 2020 to share how they have been contributing during the COVID19 pandemic and how they plan to grow. The Center hosted a live facebook event and if you didn't get a chance to view it live you can watch it below.
We were joined by local Roanoke musician Porch Front Dan and Nashville Artist Douglas Allen who performed short virtual concerts in support of The Center.
Our leadership shared our big plans for growth as we move forward to expanding The Center and how you can get involved to help us grow!
Thanks again to everyone who made our #givingtuesdaynow campaign a success and please feel free to share the video on your personal social media platforms! We look forward to growing together as we transition and expand!
OUR ASK ON GIVING TUESDAY NOW: We are social distancing for social good this #GivingTuesdayNow. Join us and millions around the world in giving back, spreading kindness, and showing how together we can be a force for good: now.givingtuesday.org.
During this global pandemic the New Transitions Center has been making an effort to support our families safely and do our part in flattening the curve by staying home. We have provided weekly ideas to our families to keep our participants active inside the home during this time and host weekly Virtual Bingo sessions. While we have done our best to make it through this time it is important to now start looking to the future and re-opening our doors.
Being a new program with just a few months under our belt this has been a large hit to our progress and growth as a newly founded non-profit. We plan to re-open our doors in June 2020 for our 4th month of programing. We need your help to do so. During this time our doors have been shut we have continued to add up expenses but not been able to supplement that with our normal participant dues. This is where we are asking for your assistance. We are taking extra precautions in our procedures upon re-opening. Supplies and staff training is needed during this time among many other needs. If you can give any amount it is very much appreciated.
For those that provide an address with their donation we will be sending you a Friends of the Center sticker to show your support. We are thankful for you! #FriendsoftheCenter #GivingTuesdayNOW
How we plan to keep everyone safe
In anticipation of our community having to manage coronavirus and prevent the infection and exposure of COVID19 we are implementing the attached guidelines. Feel free to download and view these guidelines.
If they may be of service for an organization or business in your community that is struggling with how to re-open amongst the current environment please feel free to share.
During this time people are certainly taking heightened measures to ensure that they protect themselves and their families. One step in this process is wearing gloves while out in the community.
Gloves are a great protective device you can use during this time but it is extremely important that you use proper glove safety while out in the community.
If you are touching your phone and your face and body while wearing gloves they truly are serving you no purpose. Ensure you are only touching the items you are purchasing and then remove your gloves before entering your car, honestly even before grabbing your keys for your car. Otherwise you are just transferring the germs from the surface of your gloves one of your own belongings. Then upon arrival at your home you should disinfect the items you can (such as plastic containers) with a a disinfectant wipe. I have also seen suggestions to not eat any produce you purchase for 48 hours to ensure anything living on the surface will have died.
The video below will guide you in proper removal of gloves, to ensure you are not touching the outside of your gloves at any point of removal. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us at the Center.
The Center staff have missed having everyone's smiling faces but today we went virtual for BINGO!
It was great to get the crew together for some fun over a Zoom conference call to play Bingo! This is just one of the ways The Center is trying to support families and stay engaged during this time. The staff have sent out activity suggestions that can be followed at home that mimic what the participants are use to doing at The Center. Just because we aren't together doesn't mean we can't still learn and grow!
virtual couch concerts
Nashville Artist Douglas Allen is a Friend of The Center and is offering live-virtual concerts to help spread some positive energy during this time of crisis and I encourage you to listen! Follow his Social Media to get updates on his ~ daily live shows (Next Couch Concert is Thursday Mar. 26th at 4 pm CST)
Safety is at the forefront of everyone's minds. Below are a few vetted resources that may be of service to you, your family and friends. Please share and distribute any of the below links:
The Math Behind Social Distancing
VIDEO: Practical Tips to Stay Health During COVID19 and Beyond
Activity & Educational Resources:
DIY Face Masks for You or to Donate to Healthcare Professionals
GUIDE: Resources for Families Staying at Home
It is with a heavy heart and great weight that I share this message.
As of March 23rd (next Monday) The Center's operations will be on hiatus for at least 2 weeks (thru April 6) with a possible 2 month (8 week) extension.
Due to an obligation and responsibility to public-community health and the role The Center plays in securing the health of those with special needs, we feel now is the time to temporarily postpone operations. Bare with me as I explain a bit about why we feel now is the time.
You may not know this about me but I have been in academic medicine my whole career as a non-physician focused on global health, mainly orthopaedic trauma. Drs. Jay Bender and Zachary Jones our founder and board member respectively are Physicians and leaders facing this public health crisis at their hospitals. Public health is at the root of our purpose and we have been doing our best to respond to the facts responsibility while considering the long term repercussions of what this may mean to all of you, our staff, The Center and the community at large.
You may have been hearing the term "flatten the curve". This is a public health strategy that simply means if we can reduce the number of people infected in the short term and extend the amount of people infected over a longer period of time our healthcare system can better absorb and manage the influx of people needing help (in addition to those already in need). This is critical when facing a pandemic which is what COVID-19 has become. We have a chance NOW as a community and society to avoid a long term painful health and economic crisis if we can dampen the rate of exposure. The reality is that the coronavirus infection which leads to COVID-19 is here, it's not going away anytime soon and it is highly contagious, doubling its infection rate every 3 days. We now know that regardless if symptoms are present (ie fever, cough, shortness of breath) the infection can be passed along, it is estimated that for each person infected they may pass it along to at least 50 more. Currently the CDC has recommended that no more than 10 people gather to limit transmission over the next few weeks. Although at any given day at The Center we have less than 10 people, each one of those people interact with their families and each one of those family members interact with their co-workers, friends ect. So just because your loved one is interacting with the small subset of people at The Center, there is potential exposure by anyone each of those individuals may have been in contact with. Exponentially this grows to a significant number of possible exposures. This is why social distancing is so important. This is why we feel the need to respond and respond NOW is great. Our hope is that by doing our part we can reopen stronger than before and sooner than later. Here is a very good article on the math and science behind flattening the curve.
We highly encourage you and your families to practice extreme social distancing, work from home if you can and limit your interactions with others to only essential activities.
As a team, we are committed to supporting the families we serve. During this hiatus we hope to provide support by:
We are committed to supporting Cristin and Izaiah, our stellar team, as they are the heart of what we do at The Center. We want to make sure we are ready to re-open after the hiatus with leadership that is even stronger to provide excellent care for those we serve. As a Board we are committed to a financial package for the staff through the possibly extended 8 week hiatus. This poses a financial burden on The Center but one we feel is necessary to support those who support the families we serve.
You will see content from me over the coming weeks that promotes advocacy for special needs and how COVID-19 has impacted organizations supporting those most vulnerable, how it is affecting The Center and ways you can help. I humbly ask that you share it with your community.
As the corona virus is highly contagious so are positive messages and if we work together we may be able to cause a different viral effect, one that is positive and strong.
I personally want to emphasize that we are stronger together. This is a unique opportunity to take pause, spend time with those we are closest to and recalibrate on what is important. I personally choose to view this as a gift. It comes at a price. It comes with stress, anxiety and fear. I encourage you to focus on gratitude during this time and practice self-care routines.
If you feel this message or any others I have sent may be of service please feel free to send along, copy and paste in emails or social posts.
As always please reach out if we can be of service and please please take good care! We promise to stay in touch!
Amber Caldwell, MSc
Acting Executive Director
New Transitions Center