Staff Stories During COVID-19

Staff Stories During COVID-19

Helping Families Through a Pandemic

Our team closely follows local, state, regional and federal safety recommendations to be able to continue providing critical services to children and families in this time of uncertainty. Now, more than ever, many in our community are facing food, child care, employment and transportation insecurities. Here are some of their stories — in their words — from the field.

  • Helping Youth Concentrate on What Makes Them Happy While Sheltering-in-Place 

    "I've been working with our youth on keeping things in perspective while sheltering-in-place by having them focus on the things we still have and the things we are grateful for. It's been an eye-opening and inspiring project. It was a nice reminder that, though times may be uncertain right now, we can still concentrate on what truly make us happy." —Jonni  

  • Limiting Exposure with Video Conferencing

    "I am using Zoom video conferencing to meet with my families when circumstances have not allowed me inside the home. I am able to observe children, talk with parents and continue to work with families on strategies to help them be safe and keep moving through case plan goals. In using Zoom, I can model behavior and demonstrate what I am teaching and advising. The video conferencing also allows the family to show me things in their home that have needed to be completed, such as installing smoke detectors and testing them so I know the batteries have been installed and they are working correctly." —Stacie

  • Andrea's Story

    "We are working with Andrea, a single mother of two on a fixed income. Due to the financial strain of many trips to Kansas City and Wichita for her two children's medical appointments last month, she was not able to purchase groceries or stock up on any essential items to prepare for the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. A donor graciously purchased two weeks of groceries for the family. Our team did a porch drop-off of essential items. The children are able to receive daily breakfast and lunch bags from their school. We have also connected her to resources in her community and in a city close by that have food pantries for future needs. Donors, the community and our organization coming together to help this mom is crisis has been a huge success!" —Jaclyn 

  • Continuing Education for Our Youth 

    "When the shelter-in-place orders were first announced, our day treatment school teachers hand-delivered school work to any student without reliable internet service and provided the devices needed so students could complete their schoolwork at home. They also provided 150 families in 36 school districts with information on where they can get breakfast and lunch for their child during the school week, where they can find other household supports and have been there to assist families with any other needs during this crisis. Now our teachers communicate with students three times a week and continue to provide classroom learning online or through paper packets for those without internet service. They are also working with each student’s home school district to ensure all state and local expectations are being met. Meanwhile, school therapists are still contacting students twice a week to continue working with them while they are being homeschooled.Our Build Trybe team is also working with students who live on Cornerstones of Care facilities from our residential treatment and Pathways transitional living programs, actively teaching employable skills to the youth while engaging them in projects around our campuses and facilities." —Paul 

  • Adapting on Residential Treatment Campuses

    "Our residential treatment program continues to admit clients who need our services – the uncertainty in the world doesn’t negate that our services are still needed, so we are here. We are still celebrating birthdays, providing therapy, teaching school and having parental visits – it all just looks a little differently now. While our maintenance team continues to be extra vigilant about cleaning and stocking cleaning supplies for staff to routinely wipe down surfaces to keep the germs away, our school staff are teaching classes in the dorms to keep the youth current on their schoolwork. Case managers and therapists are using Zoom video conferencing so the children can stay connected with their families – though they may not be able to touch, they can still see and talk to each other. We are adhering to best practices and following social distancing but still keeping the kids active. We purchased more games and crafts to keep them busy and our expressive therapists are helping fill the void of not having volunteer groups visit with music and arts. Now that it is nice outside, we are also spending more time outside. One generous donor provided masks for our children and staff and another donated a Disney Plus, so we feel very fortunate." —Cheryl

  • Keeping Children Engaged

    "Our office managers have compiled a wonderful list of online activities for children during the stay-at-home orders! And when needed, our organization is assisting families with internet service so school aged-children can complete their online learning." —Stacie

  • Robinson Family Story 

    "Before COVID-19, the Robinson family had already been hit with trauma after trauma and were already living day-to-day at this point. The day Governor Kelly announced the closing of Kansas schools for the remainder of the school year, the Robinsons called me worried about food and the extended length of time the kids would be at home. I told them we will take it a day at a time together. Having worked with this family for about a month, I knew they really relied on food from the school to keep the children from being hungry. Maggie, our manager, brought food to the office for families in immediate need, so we took some to them. Then, I felt that actually stepping in to help the mother treat her daughter’s hair for lice rather than just providing the treatment would alleviate some stress. Just those two simple things — being there in that way and talking them through — has given them some light in this time. We will continue doing all that we can for all of our families in the safest ways possible." —Samantha

  • Improving the Level of Trauma-Informed Care We Provide 

    "Our Behavior Intervention Support Team (BIST) shifted from providing intensive consultation services to schools across the Midwest to doing a deep-dive with our own day treatment schools and residential treatment program. Working with more than 10 shifts in the first week alone, BIST was able to start providing insight to improve the level of care provided at our schools. They are also planning a virtual leadership event for principals in closed districts while we are sheltering-in-place. And some BIST consultants have stepped in to help residential students and to help develop a stronger residential program for all students." —Paul

  • Trisha's Story

    "I was able to help a family immediately create and utilize individual and family action plans. Trisha, a 16-year-old girl, was very emotional trying to talk to her dad, Steve. She and I were able to identify the high-risk situation, prevention, interruption and escape tasks. Steve did the same thing! He opened up about how his anger is impacting his family. By listening to his daughter and I complete her plan, he heard her asking for more praise and needing to feel loved to prevent anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. She said she didn’t want to be “micromanaged”. He didn’t realize he was micromanaging her and gave her a commitment of change!  It was awesome!" —Dezaree

  • Grocery Assistance

    "Most all of my families have needed grocery assistance — two separate fathers have been laid off, so money is tight. In order to help with groceries and limit exposure to COVID-19, we are placing online grocery orders for families at walmart.com. Families are able to utilize the curbside pickup. Other than a few items being out of stock, this has been a great way to get families the necessities they need." —Stacie

You can help our team continue meeting the needs of those in our community by making a donation in support of our COVID-19 response. Please donate today

Learn more about what we are doing during to ensure the safety and health of our children and families during the COVID-19 outbreak.

*Names has been changed to protect the identities of the families.