LifeLinks CLASS Notes: Supporting Each Other

To the LifeLinks CLASS community,

Like all of you, my world has been turned upside down over these past few weeks in ways I never imagined. One of the absolute best parts of my job are the constant reminders of love and support I get to observe every day across our programs. I can’t wait to get back to that daily occurrence, but for now, we’re all adapting.

Face-to-face interactions that are at the heart of everything we do at LifeLinks CLASS are being replaced by technology where possible. We’re hosting virtual events. Conducting virtual check-ins. Even the COVID-19 daily task force meetings are held virtually.

We know it’s difficult for everyone. In fact, family support center coordinator Eileen Lee recently told her story to the Washington Post – a powerful reminder to the country at large that caregivers in our community are facing difficult choices the likes of which they never imagined. Eileen has always been a fierce advocate for the people we serve. It’s a powerful story that I encourage you all to read and share!

But amidst the ordeal, I want to point out something that fills me with joy! And that’s the dedication of the direct support professionals at LifeLinks CLASS who are working feverishly every day for the people we serve! It truly is an honor and a privilege to be a part of a fiercely dedicated team that makes a difference in the lives of so many – and supports each other in the most challenging times.

I am in awe of the selfless acts of kindness that have become the norm over these past few weeks. Let me share a few examples with you:

  • Day program staff are volunteering to work shifts at our group homes across the region.
  • The residential staff put on a wonderful birthday party for one of our group home residents, filming the festivities to create a memorable family celebration.
  • The finance team, thanks to the herculean efforts of Sasha Ayala, have been able to procure sorely needed PPE for our direct care staff.
  • Day program and clinical staff are sharing virtual activities and sending packets of recommended activities to group homes and to homes of individuals whose day programs are suspended.
  • The award-winning Strive2Thrive program is engaging participants in the creation of a virtual calendar of events that keep mentors connected with their ASD-No ID mentees.
  • Our nurses, under the leadership of Alicia Mordach, have gone above and beyond in providing care for those who need it, where they need it, under challenging circumstances. Including training staff on the proper uses of PPE and assertively monitoring the medical care of all of our individuals for who a doctor’s office visit would pose a risk right now.
  • The facilities team has been keeping the supply chain at group homes uninterrupted and they have even converted space at Omni Way to be used as a quarantine center in case of emergency.
  • The students at Merrimack College who work with us as part of the New Balance Healthy Balance program have stepped up, creating a YouTube channel for participants in the program to stay active and connected.

We’re working very hard to support our staff and to provide them with the resources they need to provide for your loved ones and keep them safe and healthy during this unprecedented moment in time. We are learning and changing how we operate in order to keep everyone safe while maintaining some sense of routine and regularity in order to install confidence and ally fears. It is a challenge, but one we have taken on wholeheartedly.

We will continue to keep you updated and engaged as we manage through this. And let’s continue to do our part to flatten the curve. Follow the CDC guidelines. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. And know that your LifeLinks CLASS team is here for you. Now, and always.

With best wishes for your health and safety,

Jean M. Phelps, CEO