Published: April 22, 2021
Over the last year, the world has changed dramatically and has impacted so many aspects of our lives. For those with disabilities and their families, the disruption has hit them hard. Access to services is so critical to the health and wellness of these individuals that there was no option to shut down.
As a result, many of our Bridgewell programs, including our Family Support Center, activated quickly so that we could continue to provide critical services despite the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Take, for example, our friend Michelle, a parent who connected to virtual programming through our Family Support Center’s relationship with other agencies providing similar services. Recently, Michelle shared with us her story and detailed how she was able to help her family despite COVID-19 restrictions.
Prior to the pandemic, Michelle and her son Andy were initially introduced to Bridgewell’s Family Support Center through activities like family dance parties and holiday get-togethers that were co-hosted with other human service organizations.
“Everyone made us feel so welcome and part of the group,” said Michelle. “We looked forward to attending more events, but then the pandemic hit. To our surprise, instead of being disappointed, we soon learned that Bridgewell offered so many diversions in the form of Zoom classes!”
Michelle recounted that Andy’s favorite classes were always Kim Crowley’s dance classes, and they were thrilled to learn that Kim would be continuing to offer her classes virtually through Zoom.
“I don’t think he’s missed one!” Michelle said of her son. “He loves the dance, groove, and strong bodies class.”
Michelle added that Andy has also enjoyed Bridgewell’s virtual art classes and cooking classes, where he particularly loved making Chinese dumplings. She believes it will be vital for Bridgewell to continue offering remote services to families even after the pandemic.
“I think the remote services have been a blessing in disguise,” Michelle said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get out to a class and having some classes remote removes all those barriers. Even when we were away, we Zoomed in to dance every day! The more people can participate, the better.”
Michelle continued to share that Andy turned 40 during the pandemic, and to celebrate the occasion, they invited friends to a remote dance party led by his favorite dance instructor, Kim. Andy and his friends had a blast, and Michelle credits Bridgewell for helping to make her son’s birthday feel special despite the circumstances.
Reflecting on the past year, Michelle feels fortunate she and her family were introduced to Bridgewell before the pandemic.
“I have told many parents that Bridgewell rose to the top during this pandemic,” she said. “They provided so many remote classes there was always something to do and look forward to.”
Michelle credits Bridgewell for helping the family get through this difficult year.
“The Zoom classes were the highlights of each day,” she said. “It was a great way to stay connected during the pandemic and it was good for us!”
She and her son Andy look forward to continuing their relationship with Bridgewell staff and families in the future, well after the pandemic.