What a trying, incomprehensible few weeks these last few weeks have been for all of us. We are all trying to adjust our lives and plans while doing all we can to safeguard the public health and well being of those around us.
All of us connected to JBBBS – professionals, lay leaders, donors, and volunteers – are now experiencing the isolation, loneliness and lack of human interaction that so many of our Littles and adult with disability clients unfortunately experience on an ongoing basis. And our current lives feel so lonely and so complex. This is why the important work we perform on a daily basis continues and is even more important now than ever. JBBBS has long been committed to the transformational power of one-to-one relationships and we are dedicated to continuing this work as much as we can in the weeks ahead. We are experienced in combating social isolation and will use this expertise to continue to deliver on virtual programs and connection.
Our staff is already busy planning our virtual Friend 2 Friend Seder on April 1 for the more than 200 participants who had planned to attend our annual get together. By leveraging technology we will create a meaningful experience, community and joy. We look forward to sharing more information about this in the days ahead.
We are circulating suggestions for how our volunteers can continue to virtually connect with their Littles and Friends. Bigs and Littles are connecting remotely for virtual museum tours, arranging FaceTime calls to share tours of their homes or to show off favorite toys/collections, and sharing their musical talent with each other through a Facetime or Skype concert. These critical one-to-one relationships are continuing and, dare I say, even flourishing.
In the spirit of increasing connectedness, Friend 2 Friend has also launched web-based volunteer training courses, created by Partners for Youth with Disabilities. The training will provide further education around inclusion and inclusive communication. These free courses will allow our volunteers to be even better prepared to serve our clients.
Notwithstanding any of the above, with great sadness, we must inform you that our 100th Anniversary Gala scheduled to be held May 14 has been cancelled. But rest assured that although we will be unable to come together as a community at a Gala, such does not mean that we shall not continue to promote and celebrate all that we do in the months ahead.
I could not be prouder to lead JBBBS, and I am even more so today knowing that we are providing that helping virtual hand to those who need us most. I also could not be prouder of or more thankful for our dedicated team who is responding during this challenging time with great conviction and selflessness.
Thank you, as always, for your ongoing partnership and support. During these uncertain times, should you want to support our efforts to combat isolation for our vulnerable JBBBS Littles and our Adults with Disabilities, please click here to donate, with our heartfelt thanks. May you and all your loved ones and friends stay healthy.