Responding to Community Needs During the COVID-19 Shutdown

Staff members host daily virtual workshops to keep parents, others connected

By Nancy Mader
Director of Transition Projects

I remember sitting at my desk in early March thinking that, at most, Federation staff would be working from home for a couple of weeks due to the looming COVID-19 public health crisis.

A screenshot of Pat Cameron, Director of Family TIES, leading a virtual workshop on making facial masks at home.

My colleague, Leslie Leslie, and I were talking about how we could serve our families while working remotely, as this was going to be a completely new experience for everyone. Most importantly, we knew we had to make our services accessible to as many families as possible.

We started brainstorming about how we could use Facebook Live to reach families and provide important information without taking up too much time, as parents were going to be home, juggling their students’ education and their own work.

I had been using the Livestream platform through Facebook for my “LINKed over Lunch” transition series, so I felt somewhat comfortable with the platform. However, for the majority of the Federation staff, this was a completely new ballgame… and an uncomfortable one at that.

I feel so proud of my colleagues for jumping in head first. We have “gone live” every weekday for nine weeks, (as of May 15) providing meaningful content to parents, families and professionals. We know that our families and professionals crave guidance and information so they can better serve their students with special needs and we have tried to provide the most up-to-date information possible.

If you have not tuned into the Facebook Livestreams you should check them out weekdays at 2 p.m. on our Facebook homepage. If you have tuned in, you have watched real people, most of us parents of children with special needs, put ourselves out there to reach you on a personal level with the hope of teaching you something new or helping to ease a worry that may be keeping you up at night.

If you have missed a Livestream, you can find them on our YouTube channel.

Our daily content schedule:

  • MassPAC Monday
  • Transition Tuesday
  • Wellness Wednesday
  • Thriving Thursday
  • Friday Facts

All of us hope that you have found the Livestreams valuable and that you keep watching. The Federation is here to help you and we look forward to brighter days.

Thank you all so much, and know that we are all in this together.