My Thoughts As A Parent As We Faced This Pandemic
By Sandi, mother of JEVS Independence Network member, Ethan
I have been a parent and advocate of Philadelphia Independence Network (PIN) for seven years, having recognized the community’s value from the beginning. Although none of us ever planned to be staying home for extended periods of time under “shelter in place” orders, it’s comforting to know that Ethan has a second home in Narberth, Pa., where people support each other like a family.
Ethan came back to stay at our family house during the pandemic. However, even home-cooked meals can’t replace the relationships that he has continued to foster with fellow members, albeit virtually, during these challenging times. When all of this started, Ethan quickly became immersed in JEVS staff-led Zoom trainings for career skills, meditations and other exercises, cooking classes, and of course, virtual game nights with his PIN friends; filling his days with positive, “growth-oriented” activities.
Although the stay-at-home orders limited Ethan’s ability to physically see clients for work, thanks to the program, he has been able to remain productive and continue learning skills for the future, all while staying connected with the community. Independence Network also took action to help people who have been affected the most by COVD-19, making masks and providing food to those in need.
Daily walks have been another important part of Ethan’s new routine, serving as a time to reflect on his progress toward goals. Our typical “check-in” conversations have been transformed from “Are you OK?” to “Here’s a list of Zoom activities from today…” or “Marc, Stephanie, Annalisa and the NJ staff are doing….” Tremendous credit goes to the JEVS staff, because they treat each member as if they’re their only priority.
Ethan remains immersed in the PIN community in Narberth while living in Huntingdon Valley until the quarantine gets lifted. We love hearing Ethan explain what he’s learning about and accomplishing virtually through the program, and are excited for when he’ll be able to rejoin the physical community to fully leverage its resources for work, community-involvement, and the sense of belonging that he takes great pride in. These ideals are what we all want for our kids. #grateful
During some downtime, our staff, members and families have had time to jot down their thoughts, feelings and initial reactions to the pandemic. Click on the links below to read their perspectives and insights.