Easterseals South Florida
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Your support will allow us to continue serving all our families through this pandemic. After many months of serving and supporting our children, seniors and families through distance learning, teletherapy and in-home services, we are pleased to share that since June we are running a blended model (onsite and virtual) for all our educational programs, early childhood through High School, with about 2/3 of students onsite and 1/3 virtual. We were able to bring many students back for summer camp, funded by The Children's Trust, after nearly three months in quarantine. We implemented strict health and safety procedures to ensure the continued health of our students, staff, and families who have chosen onsite services. Having the option to return to summer camp/school was critical for our families' ability to return to work and for their child's developmental/educational/social emotional progress. We saw the smiles on the students faces, the relief in parents' eyes, and the general positive emotion of returning to a safe place in the midst of this global crisis. Our students and families reside in some of Miami's most vulnerable neighborhoods, Homestead, Alapattah, Liberty City, and Overtown, to name a few, and as such have been hit harder by this crisis. With death rates and job loss higher in lower socio-economic neighborhoods, we understand the importance of providing quality services and a safe space to our families. We are committed to continuing to offer a hybrid model so that we can serve as many students with special needs as possible. It is no secret that seniors have been among those most impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Since closing all our Adult Day Care centers on March 19 out of an abundance of care for the health and safety of our program participants who are most at risk our staff of caregivers and social workers have made over 3,000 telephone reassurance calls, and have been able to identify their needs and work hard towards fulfilling them. We continue to serve many of our senior clients through in-home respite and during the course of providing in-home services the respite worker will supervise, provide personal care, prepare a light meal, provide light housekeeping including laundry as well as stimulating and engaging activities. To assist with keeping our seniors protected in quarantine, we have been able to distribute over 300 personal protection and equipment kits containing face coverings, disinfectant, and disposable undergarments, patient tracking kits, 4,483 frozen meals, and 350 shelf stable meals. To combat the effects of social isolation we have distributed I-Pods and activity kits as well as conducted virtual gatherings via Zoom for exercise, for bingo, singing and birthday celebrations. We are also doing caregiver support groups through Zoom, again, using technology to connect seniors and their family members to other families in similar situation, helping them to cope with the challenges of caregiving. These virtual services by no means replace the valuable in-person connections of our centers. However, it offers our seniors something to look forward to, diminishes anxiety and provides a mood boost. Together, we will ride this pandemic out and when we come out on the other side, we will be stronger and better than ever before!