As the COVID-19 continues to impact jobs in an age of uncertainty, Emmaus team members continue to do whatever they can to maintain a safe, active, and enjoyable environment at our clients’ homes.
After 34 years with Emmaus, Cindy found her work-life completely changing. Usually, Cindy’s main role is to help train over 500 Direct Support Professionals a year. But shortly after the pandemic began, Emmaus took preventative measures to postpone in-person training and offer a variety of online courses. While juggling changes in her own department, Cindy went above the call of duty to spend some of her time helping in unique ways. She shuttled vans, delivered personal protective equipment to homes, and went on grocery runs. Next, Cindy found herself taking a step back in time and returning to her Direct Support Professional role.
Cindy’s momentary transition back into a DSP could not have come at a more needed time. The home she started supporting had just lost a management position, and also had a few new hires just beginning their career at Emmaus. One says that if it weren’t for Cindy coming in when she did as a mentor and as a friend, she wouldn’t still be with Emmaus today. More importantly, Cindy was able to make a huge impact on some women who she cares a lot about.
Cindy was excited to assist our direct support staff and work with clients again: “Most of my time was working with Heather, Jan, Nicole, and Tuera. Working with these ladies was a blast!” Cindy did a variety of activities to keep the ladies active while quarantined at home. They made crafts and went for walks outside (and inside when the weather was bad). Cindy’s favorite thing to do was hosting at-home cooking classes. Heather and Jan, on the other hand, really enjoyed the time that Cindy arranged for her golden retrievers to visit. Not long after, everyone tried creating origami dogs to replicate this new memory.
Although Cindy’s efforts have helped, the ladies still miss their lives before COVID and being active in the community. Before COVID, they would often go out to eat, go to the movies, shop at the mall, walk around local parks, and go to their day programs where they would swim and go horseback riding. All of the ladies also deeply miss their families. Not spending as much time with their loved ones has been hard on them.
(Photos taken before the COVID pandemic began)
The way Cindy pivoted to meet people’s needs is common trait found at Emmaus. Almost as an outsider looking in, Cindy shares how the whole team rallied around the women: “Kathleen provides the ladies with laughs through funny jokes. Tia has their hair colored and braided. If Hilary weren’t here, the doctor’s appointments wouldn’t happen. If Eisha didn’t show up, the overnights wouldn’t be the same because the ladies adore her. If Amanda weren’t there, the ladies would miss her wonderful food. And Rachel’s personality brightens everyone’s day. She’s the first person the ladies ask when they want to do something.” Without some incredible Direct Support Professionals, the clients could greatly suffer in this time of isolation.
Your gifts on Giving Tuesday (December 1st) can help our team members, like Cindy, show up for our clients when they need them most. “Donations through the COVID pandemic are keeping our folks safe and happy during this tragic time,” Cindy adds. “Anything can help, even if you just give a small gift. If 10 people did this, that would help several homes stay safe from COVID and be active at home. Maybe that’s for a DVD player that a home doesn’t have so they can watch movies. Maybe it is for supplies for clients to create crafts… any activity that will help pass the time. Anything can help.”
The dedication of Emmaus Direct Support Professionals compels them to keep showing up when our clients need them the most. Now we need YOU to show up for them. We need every person reading this article who can make a gift to do so. This Giving Tuesday is your chance to Show-Up for Those Who Need It Most.