When California instituted a stay-at-home order in response to the pandemic, Wayfinder staff knew that many of our families would struggle to secure the necessities. Our early intervention specialists and foster care workers contacted families to learn their needs. Staff prepared customized packages using items donated by our in-kind partners. We called the deliveries “porch drops.” Among the items staff delivered were diapers, formula, masks, cleaning supplies, and arts and crafts materials appropriate for the ages of the children in each family. Early intervention families also received light boxes and adaptive toys to use in teletherapy sessions with their specialists. Though weekly at first, porch drops are continuing as families need them.
Sisters Milagros, age 12, and Metzli, age 14, love Camp Bloomfield—whether it’s in person or virtual! Milagros has Down syndrome and vision impairment. For two years, Metzli attended camp as her sister’s sighted buddy before becoming a counselor-in-training. “They look forward to Camp Bloomfield,” mom Rosie says. “Metzli asks me, ‘Mom, is the application up yet? Make sure you get it in.’” Due to the pandemic in 2020, Camp Bloomfield provided live-streamed activities with audio description for campers who are blind or visually impaired. Milagros was eager to attend camp in its new form. She received Camp in a Box, containing activity supplies to do with her counselors from home. Milagros was happy to have a little piece of Camp Bloomfield this summer, even at home.
Beyond The Classroom
The educators in Wayfinder’s Special Education School are going beyond the classroom to ensure our children continue to learn during the pandemic. Our school offers an enriching learning environment for children and youth, ages 5 to 21, who are visually impaired or have moderate-to-severe disabilities. When the stay-home order closed the physical school, our staff customized each child’s lesson plan for online delivery. Many students are non-verbal and need a 1:1 or 1:2 staff-to-student ratio for effective learning. Students participated daily in individual lessons with a teacher via Zoom, plus large- and small-group activities. If families lacked technology, they received iPads and a means to connect to the Internet. In addition to dropping off learning materials at families’ homes, staff are providing items such as meals, diapers, masks and cleaning supplies. Our teachers are doing everything they can to ensure that families can support their students’ learning until we can welcome them back to the school.
We are changing the future.
At Wayfinder Family Services, we understand the unique challenges facing some of our community’s most vulnerable youth and adults. Those with vision loss or multiple disabilities, those in foster care, those with nowhere else to turn.
We believe in the amazing potential in, and for, each and every one of them.
You can change the future of over 20,000 children and families every year by joining our Change the Future Fund.
Contact Vanessa Botshekan at (323) 295-4555 Ext 205 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
September 3, 2020