It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since COVID-19 shut down our city. This once-in-a-century pandemic shook our community and endangered the children, adults, and families we serve on a scale we couldn’t have predicted. We still mourn the loss of life here, across our country, and the world. And we long for the way of life we enjoyed before.
But we’ve been resilient, too. When COVID-19 disrupted everything we knew, and brought many aspects of our lives to a standstill, our work at The New York Foundling continued.
In the past year, our staff and community have shown tremendous dedication and strength. They overcame each and every challenge from social distancing, to navigating technology and technology accessibility, and found creative ways to adapt.
Foundling staff facilitated virtual visits between families to help maintain connection and advocated on behalf of families when the family courts closed. We kept students on track with their classes and gave everyone the tools to self-advocate when pandemic conditions created academic hurdles. The therapists in our Families Rising and our other alternative-to-incarceration programs delivered holistic treatment to families via telehealth. Staff working in our Developmental Disabilities programs alleviated the emotional burden of social distancing for the men and women in our residences and found ways to keep them engaged and active in quarantine.
We continued to provide School Based Mental Health services to help students confront the emotional burden of being away from their classmates, teachers, and friends, as well as the unique stressors and challenges presented by the transition from in-person to remote learning. The Foundling’s Medical Clinics, like other pediatrician offices around the country, never closed, and increased communication allowed families to receive information and support throughout the health crisis. And our Camp Felix at Home program kept camp magic alive for Foundling kids last summer.
The Foundling will continue to adapt as needed, although we are now seeing a promise for a better year ahead. We strive to be the beacon of light and support for the tens of thousands of children, adults, and families in our community as we navigate our way forward and out of the pandemic.
And there’s good news ahead.
Students are back at Haven Academy and our Day Habilitation sites for people with developmental disabilities have reopened—and vaccines are being administered to keep this population safe and healthy. Our frontline staff and other essential workers are also receiving their vaccines—which is even more good news we are able to share. In addition, Foundling-operated medical clinics are seeing more and more patients face-to-face, and Camp Felix is hoping to put in place an in-person camp this summer.