WJCS Covid-19 Update: We're on the Front Lines
"God is watching all these good deeds. Thank you." These sweet words of gratitude were recently told to us by a WJCS client, one of the many whose families has received groceries, home-delivered meals, diapers, personal care products, and children's activities, including arts and crafts supplies, from our agency.
As one of the largest human service non-profit organizations in Westchester, WJCS has been on the front lines, ensuring that Westchester residents who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic have the help they need to navigate this difficult time. Whether it's in response to mental health challenges, financial and food insecurity, safety and social needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, parents feeling overwhelmed by pandemic pressures, or children, teens, seniors and caregivers needing support, WJCS is addressing critical needs:
- Delivering food and basic necessities- WJCS staff have been bringing hundreds of bags of food and other basic necessities to WJCS program participants and clinic clients who are ill, lack transportation, or are immune compromised and fear the virus. We are so grateful to our community partners, including Feeding Westchester, Yonkers Office for the Aging, Yonkers Fire Department, Top Class Limousine, and Yonkers City Council, for helping us protect the safety and health of children, parents, and older adults.
- Conducting 11,000+ Telehealth therapy sessions- With people anxious about coronavirus, financial insecurity, and pressures revolving around working from home while parenting, it's been more important than ever to provide our current and new clients with the support they need. WJCS clinical staff, including social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners, have conducted thousands of individual, group, psychiatric evaluation, and medication management sessions via video chat and telephone.
- Operating all children, youth, and family programming remotely- The Wiener Academy for Young Women in Yonkers has yoga, dance classes, and twice-a-week "It's a Girl Thing" discussion groups via Zoom. Dozens of participants from our Parent Child Center program, which usually meets in the Boys and Girls Club in New Rochelle, have joined in a Zoom gathering and continue to find support in the close relationships they have developed over the years. The staff at Young People Achieve has volunteered and deliver diapers and wipes to families in Ossining and White Plains through donations from the Diaper Bank. Staff in all our programs are reaching out to families on a regular basis, offering supportive strategies to parents struggling with their children at home, tutoring to students in the afterschool program, and assessing their need for food and other necessities.
- Easing isolation for LGBTQ+ youth- WJCS Center Lane is hosting virtual groups Tuesday-Friday as well as weekly Transparentcy meetings, with parents/guardians meeting in one Zoom "room" and youth in another. Social activities include virtual games, a virtual 'mic' night, and a virtual Pride Camp reunion. There is a hotline for any LGBTQ youth in Westchester county to call.
- Free virtual support groups- WJCS partnered with the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health to offer a support group every Wednesday for families. The support group sessions focused on how to reduce stress, communicate better with family, balance working and parenting from home, and practice self-care.
- Services for Seniors- Geriatric Care Managers and the Case Manager for the NNORC in Yonkers are providing supportive counseling to seniors via phone to ensure they have the services they need, including home-delivered meals, information about resources, and referrals.
- Programming for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities- POINT participants may be physically apart but have joined together virtually in their Art Group to learn paper weaving and together create their own “Community Quilt”. They reflected on what being in the POINT community means to them and shared words like “support,” “family,” “growth,” “friendship,” and “happiness.” Direct care staff working in our 13 WJCS group homes have been applauded by hundreds of fans via zoom as the health care heroes they are, as theyensure that residents of our community residences are well cared physically and emotionally during this critical time. Group home residents have enjoyed "high tea," virtual Bingo led by our very own COO Bernie Kimberg, and communicating with their Care Call Buddies via weekly Zoom calls about their interests and hobbies.
All of these and other services and programs provided by WJCS to those vulnerable in Westchester would not be possible without the help of our government funders, foundation grants, donors, and community partners. If you can help support WJCS during COVID-19, we and our Westchester neighbors in need, would greatly appreciate it. DONATE HERE!